BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - — Parents can now take a breath as the CDC approved to have “Test-to-Stay” policies that’ll allow close contacts of students infected with COVID-19 to remain in the classroom if they test negative.
The CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, says “if exposed children meet a certain criteria and continue to test negative, they can stay in school instead of quarantining at home.”
An excited mother of two kids that go to the Clarence School District, Tarja Parssinen, speaks on how relieved to hear that the CDC approved the 'Test-to-Stay' in schools. “What we're hoping for is that New York State and the New York State Department of health gets fully behind this,” she says. “And helps support all school districts rolling this out.”
The Grand Island School District is where the “Test-to-Stay” pilot program is already underway. Parssinen hopes other school districts will follow. “So I know Superintendent Cash was looking at the Grand Island pilot program,” the mother says. “But there are pilot programs going on everywhere in Massachusetts, you know, 1,800 schools.”
Parssinen this strategy might work.
“The data is there that shows this works really well and really safely and to date it saved over 280,000 in person school days for Massachusetts students,” she says. “So I know we can do that in New York.”
Governor Kathy Hochul says she doesn't want to leave students behind.
“We want to keep kids in school,” she adds. “You want to keep kids in kindergarten all the way up through college.”
The Erie County Department of Health didn’t give a clear comment on whether they’ll give other school districts the green light to the program.
Meanwhile, Parssinen sees the mental health in children not going well.
“It breaks my heart and we have to start at the baseline of just getting kids in class,” the mother says.
Parssinen says she supports any policy that works to keep students in school.