Erie County Department of Health releases details of Test-To-Stay program

Posted at 4:03 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 16:14:52-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health has released details about its Test-To-Stay program.

The program will allow students, who would otherwise be subject to quarantine, at qualifying P-12 schools to attend classes following an in-school COVID-19 exposure, as long as they remain symptom free.

Officials say the program could start as early as next week.

Districts would perform COVID-19 testing on eligible students whose parents provided consent to participate on a schedule recommended by the Erie County Department of Health and will supply COVID-19 antigen tests to participating schools and school districts once administrators have confirmed their school’s eligibility, and placed orders for test supplies.

The health department says schools will be able to pick up those orders when available next week and should expect to receive additional COVID-19 rapid tests from the state health department.

“The Test to Stay program has many moving pieces, and schools will have substantial day-to-day responsibility, as they are the ones who are identifying school-based contacts, following the testing protocol, and reporting results to NYSDOH and ECDOH,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “That being said, schools, students and families have shown remarkable resilience this pandemic, and demonstrated the importance of in-school learning. Broadly, they indicated this is a challenge they are willing to accept. Our school team is available as a resource for schools to implement this program safely.”

In December the CDC approved to have test-to-stay policies that allows close contacts of students who test positive for COVID-19 to remain in the classroom if they test negative.

About a week after the CDC approval, Erie County gave districts the green light to implement test-to-stay programs.

Grand Island launched a pilot test-to-stay program in December.