School-Academic Partnerships in Support of Safe Return to Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Safely returning underserved youth to school during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic through diagnostic testing and health education is imperative to mitigate the ongoing negative impact of COVID-19 and reduce health inequalities in underserved communities. The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations program is a consortium of research projects across the United States funded by the National Institutes of Health to understand the factors associated with the disproportionate burden of the pandemic among underserved populations and to leverage mitigation strategies, including diagnostic testing, with a focus on reducing health disparities. In this article, we provide an overview and introduce the articles from 8 Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations projects featured in the supplement "Navigating a Pandemic in the K-12 Setting: Keeping Our School Communities Safe" published in Pediatrics. These projects funded in the program's first phase focus on COVID-19 diagnostic testing approaches for youth and employees at schools in underserved communities to support safe in-person learning. In the articles comprising the supplement, researchers present barriers and facilitators of the community engagement process necessary to establish school-academic partnerships. These efforts showcase school-based implementation testing strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic but are translatable to tackling other challenges related to reducing health disparities.
D'Agostino, EM; Haroz, EE; Linde, S; Layer, M; Green, M; Ko, LK
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