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WashU gets $5M grant to study COVID-19 testing of youth with disabilities

Officials said the grant will serve about 750 families with children in kindergarten through 12th grade

ST. LOUIS — Washington University has been awarded a two-year, $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

According to a release, the grant will allow WashU researchers to offer 50,000 saliva tests for COVID-19 to students, teachers and staff members in the six special education schools operated by the Special School District of St. Louis County.

“The pandemic has disproportionately impacted students with special needs, especially those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in part because they rely on daily structure and in-person support for learning and social growth,” officials said in a statement. “The researchers also will assess educational disparities affecting families whose children have intellectual, emotional and developmental disabilities. Due to underlying medical conditions experienced by many such students, this population of students is at a higher risk for developing COVID-19 and severe complications of the virus.”

Officials said the grant will serve about 750 families with children in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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