BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — New York State is in the process of shipping 5.28 million COVID test kits to schools state-wide.
Many districts say they expect to receive them over the weekend with plans to begin distributing them to school families.
“We look above — we say are the planes coming? Are the planes coming and yes — they are. They're bringing our testing kits, so we can get them to the schools,” remarked Governor Kathy Hochul.
Hochul making her remarks during the final state-wide COVID briefing of 2021.
The arrival of the test kits is just in time as there is a shortage of tests and students will be heading back to school from holiday break Monday.
Governor Hochul said COVID tests are on the way to more than 700-school districts across the state in an effort to begin ‘Test to Stay’ and keep students in school.
“So in the case where one of the classmates tests positive, everybody can take a test kit home in their backpack — come back the next day — if they have a negative test and get tested again in a couple of days. This is how we believe listening to the experts — that this is the safe way to keep children in schools,” Hochul noted.
Niagara Falls City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Laurrie says while he is grateful for the tests, he is concerned about the roll-out.
“Putting the test in the backpack of a young child — I think is wrought with some dangers and it's not the way we going to proceed,” responded Laurrie.
Laurrie says he wants to make sure school families come to their child's school to pick them up.
“It’s a herculean effort to get these out — collected — instructed on how to use them and then report it accurately and consistently across the state,” remarked Laurrie. “The concerning part, more than anything — the distribution and collection of results and not having much more specific —direction on how to do this."
The Sweet Home Central School District issued a notice saying it has plans to distribute the tests to each student in the district and send the tests home in backpacks possibly on Monday.
The Williamsville Central School District issued a letter to school families about the voluntary testing for return to school. The district is anticipating the arrival of the test kits saying distribution could take place Saturday or Sunday.
The West Seneca Central School District also issued an alert and letter to families expecting to distribute tests to families Sunday.
I reached Superintendent Matthew Bystrak.
“Are you expecting a lot of parents to take you up on these tests?" Buckley asked.
“I think a lot of people would just like peace of mind — kind of heading into the New Year — especially as far as schools are concerned,” replied Bystrak. “You know this is one of those things where I think parents in general are going to try to do the right thing."
The state is sending more than 375,000 test kits to schools across Western New York.
State-wide an additional six million COVID test kits will also be arriving through Monday to continue to get tests out on a regular basis as they anticipate the next couple of months will be challenging with rising COIVD cases.