CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Students are back in the classroom after winter break as COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the state and region. As the state helps get rapid tests in the hands of schools, districts are taking steps to ensure kids can stay in the classroom.
“Any measure that will promote in-person instruction is a measure worth taking,” said Mechanicville City School District Superintendent Bruce Potter.
Districts across the Capital Region have received at-home tests from the state and will begin to distribute them throughout this week. “I think it’s going to be a significant help. I think it will give families a sense of peace of mind,” said North Colonie Superintendent Joseph Corr.
North Colonie is holding a drive-thru distribution event Monday evening at the high school, with students able to get a box of two tests.
The district received enough resources to test 85% of their student population, with additional resources to reach that additional 15% expected later, “That is the case with every school district within the state, within this region,” Corr explained.
On top of allowing families to sign up for distribution of rapid tests, the Mechanicville City School District will also use them to test students who become symptomatic while at school, as long as their parent consents.
“We would be able to test them on-site here and determine what the next steps are,” said Potter.
The district is also adopting the CDC’s new five day quarantine for asymptomatic individuals, and is launching a test-to-stay initiative later this week, “That will increase the number of students who are actually in the classroom,” Potter explains.
The state’s continued efforts to keep students in the classroom being applauded, especially in rural areas where distanced learning can have additional challenges like access to broadband.
“Remote learning is particularly harmful in a rural setting, except when you’re augmenting coursework that you can’t get otherwise. The school in a rural setting is really the hub of the community,” said David Little, the executive director of the Rural Schools Association.