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Biden to spend $1.4 billion aimed at schools

A school bus stops at Kilmer Elementary School in Chicago on Feb. 11.TAYLOR GLASCOCK/NYT

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration says it will spend more than $1.4 billion to boost testing supplies and coordination as US officials aim to return more students to the classroom.

The White House says it will spend $815 million to increase US manufacturing of testing supplies that have been subject to frequent shortages for months, including materials used in laboratories and for rapid point-of-care tests.

Officials also announced $650 million to setup regional testing “hubs” around the country to help coordinate testing at K-8 schools, universities, homeless shelters, and other gathering places.

The US failure to provide fast, widespread testing is one of the most enduring stumbles in the federal government’s response to COVID-19. As a candidate, Biden said his administration would deliver free, comprehensive testing at a national scale. He has asked Congress to provide $50 billion for testing in the stimulus bill before lawmakers.