Kelly O’Donnell, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association

When COVID changed our lives four years ago,  none of us imagined the immeasurable loss associated with the pandemic.  Today I have an important update to share.

Effective immediately, the White House will no longer require routine, asymptomatic COVID testing for our press corps.  That means no testing for our pool to travel on AirForce One and Air Force Two.  No daily testing on trips.  No required testing in advance of interactions with the president and other principals.  In short, farewell to the multi-colored wristbands.

The White House says its policy is aligning with current CDC guidance.  After infection, officials say stay home until you are symptom and fever free for 24 hours.  Be advised that after COVID illness, you could be asked to mask, distance and test on campus.

This is a significant development that merits reflection.  First, thank you for your diligence, patience, and adherence to various rules over these years.  Your cooperation improved the safety of our shared workspace.

As president, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary work of our past presidents Jonathan Karl,  Zeke Miller, Steven Portnoy, and Tamara Keith. My thanks to each board member serving during these years and our WHCA executive director, Steve Thomma.  Their efforts kept us on the job.

As the crisis unfolded, our WHCA found ways to preserve the protective pool despite shutdowns.  When the American people needed access to their government, information and accountability, our White House press corps did not miss a single day of service.  Our WHCA, along with our employers devised innovative ways to staff coverage with a smaller footprint, new rotations, and technology.  At briefings, instead of 49 packed seats, 14 reporters spread out and carried out our responsibilities. Each day questions were posed to officials on behalf of the public and other journalists who could not be present.

WHCA also appreciates the White House team, WH medical unit, and testing contractors for all their service.

Through it all, our press corps risked exposure and illness. When infections did affect colleagues, our members behaved responsibly, stayed home, and limited further spread.  None of it was easy.   You also juggled the personal impact on your lives and families.  The White House press corps worked hard to provide necessary information during these uncertain times.  WHCA thanks you for showing up and doing your best to serve American public.