BOSTON (AP) — A Boston-based nonprofit and the state Department of Early Education and Care have teamed up to protect child care facilities across the state with a free pooled coronavirus testing program.

The project, administered by child care advocacy group Neighborhood Villages, will test about 6,000 children and workers per week starting in mid-June and throughout the summer, according to a statement.

The initiative is an expansion of the state’s K-12 pooled testing program school credited with keeping coronavirus transmission in schools low.

What started as a successful pilot program in Boston will be expanded statewide with a $100,000 investment from the Department of Early Education and Care.

“Pooled testing has proved to be a critical mitigation strategy in detecting positive cases among asymptomatic individuals that might have otherwise been undetected,” department Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy said in a statement. “Bringing this testing strategy to child care programs and after school programs will be another important step in our fight against COVID-19.”

In pooled testing, samples from multiple people tested together. If the pool tests negative, all the individuals in the pool are negative. If the pool tests positive, individual samples are retested to see which person tested positive.

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