NEW YORK – Quest Diagnostics announced on Wednesday that it has entered an agreement with the Texas Department of State Health Services to provide COVID-19 testing for the state's K-12 schools.
The Secaucus, New Jersey-based laboratory firm said it will provide PCR-based and other nucleic acid-based testing through its labs in the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Ginkgo Bioworks will provide support services, including online result reporting and site staffing, as part of its ongoing K-12 testing collaboration with Quest.
Through the program, Quest will provide molecular COVID-19 testing for participating public, private, and charter K-12 schools for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year. Testing costs will be covered by an Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity ReOpening Schools Grant provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Texas DSHS.
"Our collaboration with Quest Diagnostics and Ginkgo Bioworks is meaningful because our COVID-19 testing practices are now supported by leaders in the healthcare industry," Lonnie Morgan, VP of strategic partnerships at ResponsiveEd, a nonprofit charter school management organization, which is implementing pooled testing across all 85 of its schools in Texas, said in a statement. "By working together, our students, educators, and families have more peace of mind and our classrooms become better places for learning."
"Testing is critical to containing COVID-19's spread and creating safer environments for all of us. We applaud the state of Texas for recognizing the value of testing for children, faculty and staff, and look forward to bringing our high quality and convenient testing capabilities to participating schools in the program," said Chad Richards, vice president and general manager, Southwest Region, Quest Diagnostics.