COVID-19 Innovation Fund
The COVID-19 Innovation Fund was established in August of 2020 to support the safe operation of Wellesley Public Schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund was launched with an initial contribution of $250,000 from WEF's endowment.
The COVID-19 Innovation Fund provided $600,000 to facilitate weekly SARS-CoV-2 testing for staff and students, and allowed Wellesley to implement one of the first public-school viral testing pilot programs in the nation: The Safer Teachers, Safer Students: Back-to-School Pilot Testing Program.
As part of a larger, multi-town collaborative effort in which diverse communities across the state have worked together to develop a framework for SARS-CoV-2 testing in public schools (The Safer Teachers, Safer Students: Back-to-School Testing Collaborative), the success of Wellesley's program has helped pave the way for other MA school districts to implement testing programs, prompting the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to announce its support for pooled testing across all K-12 public schools.
As announced on March 17, 2021, learnings from the pilot program have been leveraged to create a pathway for better, more cost-effective testing and safe school openings across the U.S. – serving as the basis of data used to develop a $10 billion funding program from the Biden Administration for testing in public schools.