NY hopes to keep in-person K-8 classes through more COVID tests

Nov 27, 2020 by

It's All About Kids Foundation | It's All About KidsALBANY – New York is hoping to expand COVID-19 testing in schools to keep open in-person kindergarten through eighth-grade classes through the winter.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out the broad parameters of his plan Thursday, saying that younger students may be better protected from the virus by being in school than learning remotely and being more in the community.

But that will require a heavier dose of testing in schools to ensure infection rates are low among students and staff.

“If you want to keep the schools open, it has to be a level of testing that the local school districts can provide for a prolonged period of time,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters.

How New York will be able to provide more COVID tests for schools is unclear, and schools and local governments have already been raising concerns that they do not have the resources to expand testing to the level that the state has already been seeking.

Schools already struggling with COVID testing threshold

Communities with increases in COVID rates are put in red, orange and yellow “microcluster” zones that require more testing and carry tougher safety restrictions, such as requiring schools to test 20% of students and staff in order to have in-person classes.

It has proven difficult to reach that threshold for many districts.

“At this point, this is logistically impossible as the (county) Department of Health and local hospitals have indicated that they do not have the capacity to help us,” Pocantico Hills Superintendent Richard Calkins wrote in a Nov. 14 letter to his Westchester County community.

Source: NY hopes to keep in-person K-8 classes through more COVID tests

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