COVID-19 Test-to-Stay Program for K-12 Schools: Opt-In Versus Opt-Out Policies
26 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2023 Publication Status: Under ReviewMore...
The CDC promoted the Test-to-Stay (TTS) program to facilitate in-person instruction in K-12 schools during COVID-19. This program delineates guidelines for schools to regularly test their students and staff to minimize risks of infection transmission. TTS can be administered via two different enrollment policies: opt-in where students do not test regularly by default unless they volunteer and the opposite, opt-out policy. We study the relative impacts of the two enrollment policies on the testing and positivity rates with data from 259 schools in Illinois. Our results indicate a 42.6% higher testing rate and 33.1% lower positivity rate in schools that chose the opt-out policy. If all schools adopted an opt-out policy, 20% of the total lost school days could have been saved. The lower positivity rate among the opt-out group is largely explained by the higher testing rate in these schools, which we believe is a manifestation of status-quo bias.
Funding Information: This work was partially supported by funds from the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute.
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.
Ethical Approval Statement: We received institutional review board (IRB) approval from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation