Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Teacher Bob Anderson goes over the syllabus with his students in his World History class at Trinity High School on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 in Weaverville, CA. The Trinity Alps Unified School District reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic, resuming in-person classroom instruction. (Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Teacher Bob Anderson goes over the syllabus with his students in his World History class at Trinity High School on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 in Weaverville, CA. The Trinity Alps Unified School District reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic, resuming in-person classroom instruction. (Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

'Where Are the Tests?' US Schools Reopen Amid Worrying Lack of Covid-19 Resources for Students, Educators

"Sending kids back to school without adequate testing available for them or their younger family members is a recipe for disaster."

Kenny Stancil

While millions of students, teachers, and other staff return to school this week—many online but some for in-person learning despite coronavirus infection rates remaining at unsafe levels in their communities—it was revealed Tuesday that half a million children have been diagnosed with Covid-19, leading progressive advocates to ask: Where are the tests? 

According to a new Rockefeller Foundation report (pdf) published Wednesday, "the U.S. may need up to 193 million coronavirus tests each month in order to safely reopen schools and fortify nursing homes." A minimum of 175 million tests would be required for teachers and students alone, the report notes. 

Those figures are far higher than current testing capacity in the U.S., which the Covid Tracking Project estimates is 21 million tests per month. 

"We've known since the start of the pandemic crisis that testing is critical for keeping the public safe. Sending kids back to school without adequate testing available for them or their younger family members is a recipe for disaster," said Kyle Herrig, president of watchdog group Accountable.US. "The public health crisis isn't over. Trump and his administration need to ensure that quick, affordable testing is available to everyone who needs it."

Unfortunately, according to reporting by the New York Times, it is especially challenging to obtain tests for children. 

"Even in large cities with dozens of test sites, parents are driving long distances and calling multiple centers to track down one accepting children," the Times wrote. "The age policies at testing sites reflect a range of concerns, including differences in health insurance, medical privacy rules, holes in test approval, and fears of squirmy or shrieking children."

Now, with kids returning to school, the inadequate testing infrastructure for children is being described by some health policy experts as "a blind spot... interfering with school reopening plans and with efforts to understand" transmission of the virus. 

In some districts where in-person learning resumed, coronavirus cases surged, causing temporary school closures. In Florida, the rapid spike in cases among school-age children provoked the state to order some counties to hide data from the public. 

Several states have pushed for "in-person learning despite dangerously low testing rates and high instances of infection," Accountable.US notes. 

According to the watchdog group's latest report (pdf), the federal government's failure to provide testing materials to states led to insufficient testing at the local level, undermining the Trump administration's demand that schools reopen for in-person learning. 

The organization's tracking of the shortcomings of testing in the U.S. can be followed at WhereAreTheTests.com

The authors of the Rockefeller Foundation report concluded by saying: "There is an urgent need for federal action to provide more clarity about testing protocols and testing needs, to provide reliable and predictable funding for screening tests, and on how to use the tests effectively in high-priority settings."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Global Windfall Profit Tax of 90% Needed to Address 'Catastrophic' Food, Climate Crises: Oxfam

Taxing the excess profits of large corporations within the G7 alone could raise an estimated $430 billion to fight world hunger, deliver vaccines to the entire world, and make a giant dent in the fight to drive down fossil fuel pollution and jumpstart the necessary renewable energy transition.

Jon Queally ·


NATO to Boost Ranks of High-Readiness Forces by 650% to Over 300,000

Anti-war campaigners responded that "this is not the path to peace and will not make the world safer."

Jake Johnson ·


Ilhan Omar Says Plan to Fix Supreme Court Must Include Impeachment Probes

"We need an impeachment investigation into Clarence Thomas' role in the January 6th coup, as well as into Gorsuch, Alito, Barrett, and Kavanaugh's testimony on Roe during their confirmation hearings," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson ·


Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo