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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona: More COVID tests will be distributed to schools "as early as next week"

Schools to get millions more COVID tests
Schools to get millions more COVID tests 05:20

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told CBS News that more COVID-19 tests will be distributed to schools nationwide starting next week. 

"The tests are being developed, and states are applying now to receive these, to the CDC. So, we do expect next week that they will be out," Cardona told "CBS Mornings" co-host Tony Dokoupil.  

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is planning to make an additional 10 million COVID-19 tests available each month to schools.

The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are prioritizing schools when it comes to testing, the education secretary said. 

"We recognize that school are the hubs of the community, that we should not be closing our schools first, as [CDC Director] Dr. Walensky said. It is vital for our students," he said.  

Cardona said they are not "requiring tests for everyone to come back in every day," but he said effective mitigation strategies should continue to be followed. 

"We know vaccinations are the best tool we have to fight this Omicron virus and COVID-19 in general. So we must not only provide testing where needed but also make sure that we are increasing our vaccinations across the country," he said.

Last year, the Los Angeles Unified School District approved a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students, currently slated to to into effect next fall, once the FDA grants full approval of the vaccine for each age group.

But according to Cardona, "there are some logistical issues" when it comes to school districts issuing vaccine mandates, despite the clear benefits of increasing vaccination.

"What we've seen across the country is that they [vaccines] work and they are helping reduce disruptions in our schools. In terms of mandating it, I do not know what other, what else you need to help people understand," he said. 

Cardona said he is concerned at the recent increase in hospitalizations of mostly unvaccinated COVID patients and the impact that it is having in hospitals.  

"I think we have to really look at that to make sure that we are providing public health safety for everyone," Cardona said. 

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