Montpelier, VT — The State of Vermont has made 87,000 free rapid antigen kits available for students and is encouraging parents to test their children prior to returning to school after the holidays.

“I encourage families to take advantage of these rapid tests,” said Governor Scott. “Testing your child before school starts gives you peace of mind and will slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. It also will help protect the most vulnerable and keep schools open, so kids can get the education they need and deserve.”

Those who have children in kindergarten through grade 12 can get one 2-pack kit per child on either Thursday or Friday. Families can register for a pick-up time here. There will be 51 pick-up sites across the state that will be open from 7:00 to 10:00 am and from 3:00 to 6:00 pm on both days. Name and school of the students will be required at pick-up but students do not need to be present.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, also encourages families to get their eligible children vaccinated.

“The virus is highly contagious, and will spread easily, especially in closed, indoor settings such as schools. This is especially true of the new Omicron variant,” said Dr. Levine. “So, I am again asking every parent and caregiver in Vermont to please, get your children vaccinated. There is vaccine available for kids ages five and older that will give them the protection they need to stay safe and healthy and help protect the people they are with – especially those who are at high risk of serious outcomes if they get the virus.”