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NYSDOH approves Niagara Falls as first school district to become COVID-19 testing site

New York State Department of Health offering free rapid COVID-19 testing in Southern Tier
Posted at 12:11 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 15:09:32-05

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — The New York State Department of Health has approved the Niagara Falls City School District (NFCSD) as the first area school district to become a COVID-19 testing site.

Officials say district nurses will perform free rapid swab tests for COVID-19 and results will be available within 15 minutes. The testing will be done under the direction of NFCSD Medical/Laboratory Director Dr. Jo Silvaroli, Nurse Practitioner.

Any individual referred to a school's isolation room will be required to see his/her primary care provider. If the provider requests a COVID-19 test he/she is free to make an appointment to get tested at the free rapid testing center, according to officials.

"I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide this service for our school district community,” said Dr. Silvaroli. “Students and staff who have received a negative rapid test result will now be able to return to work and in-school learning sooner; as long as their symptoms are improving and they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication.”

“Students who had to wait three to seven days to receive their test results and were subject to quarantine missed vital time in the classroom,” said NFCSD Superintendent Mark Laurrie. “Rapid testing protects and preserves the education time our students need.”

The district's testing license runs from November 23, 2020 to November 23, 2022.

“The license services all District schools and allows for us to take the testing lab ‘on the road,’” said Laurrie. “We have not decided as to whether or not we’ll utilize this option.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino released the following statement:

“As we are all aware broad community testing is the best defense against the spread of the coronavirus, which is why my administration has committed resources to expand and continue community testing. I congratulate the Niagara Falls board of education and the superintendent for achieving this first in the area designation as a testing site. In my nearly ten years serving on the board of education, I can tell you that Jo Silvaroli is an amazing medical professional. Under her direction, this program will serve this exceptional need in the school district and as a consequence in the broader community."