COVID Testing

COVID testing is a mitigation strategy that schools can consider for an additional layer of protection.

COVID Testing for Students and Staff

COVID testing is a mitigation strategy that schools can consider for an additional layer of protection and to reduce the risk to in-person education. Testing is recommended for screening and diagnotic purposes. When layered with our existing mitigation strategies, testing will further help contain spread in schools and ensure safe learning environments for students and staff. 

Testing can help to:

  • Quickly identify and isolate students and staff with COVID-19. 

  • Detect clusters indicating spread of COVID-19. 

  • Protect students, staff, family members and others who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or are otherwise at risk for getting seriously sick from COVID-19.

  • Reduce the risk to in-person education.

School Testing Opportunities

HIDOE is focused on maintaining COVID-19 testing for eligible students, staff and school communities, at no cost, through federally funded programs.

All programs are voluntary and available to students or staff who provide the required consent. See this DOH resource on the importance of testing for COVID-19 in schools.

Operation Expanded Testing (OET)

OET is available to all schools. Sites use PCR tests. Samples collected on anterior nasal swabs are sent to a lab for processing. Parents are then provided with a link to the test results, which are available approximately 48 hours later.

Most HIDOE public schools have registered for training to be eligible to participate in the OET program. Some schools are serving as testing hubs for students and staff from other schools within their complex to have access to testing.

BinaxNow Point of Care Test

This rapid antigen test must be administered by Hawai‘i Keiki staff under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver and is prioritized for individuals with symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Self-Test Kits

In addition to on-campus testing opportunities, the HIDOE is providing COVID-19 self-tests for students and staff in partnership with the DOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While these are available, self-test kits will be provided to requesting students and staff who are not feeling well, have been exposed to COVID,  recently traveled, or are planning to attend a high-risk or extra-curricular activity.

COVID-19 Self-Tests must be stored in temperatures below 87° Fahrenheit and are intended for self-administration only. Students under age 18 require parental consent before taking an at-home test. 

Community Testing Opportunities 

As the Department works to ramp up school testing sites, students, staff and community members are encouraged to take advantage of the free COVID-19 testing opportunities that are available on all islands. Click here to find a testing site near you.


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