ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC/WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — New York State is sending masks and COVID-19 rapid tests to school districts that request them for the start of the 2023-24 school year.

According to a release sent by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office Tuesday, the state will conduct an outreach survey this week to determine which districts and organizations need masks and test kits. The supplies will then be delivered to the districts for distrubution.

“Thanks to the hard work of New York schools, teachers, and parents, we have come a long way to ensure students can safely return to the classroom,” Hochul said in the Tuesday statement. “Frequent testing for COVID-19 is an important part of keeping our kids safe and preventing an outbreak, and I will continue working to ensure our school districts have the resources they need to provide a safe, in-person learning environment for our students.” 

The governor is also recommending school districts review the latest CDC guidance regarding COVID-19 amid reports of the new BA.2.86 variant, along with summer spikes in cases and hospitalizations. Along with that, the governor is recommending promotion of vaccination and testing, optimization of ventilation and improvements to air quality, and teaching proper handwashing and hygiene practices.

The Department of Health and the Wadsworth Center in Albany are continuing to monitor the situation. They recommend that schools that experience outbreaks should work with their local health department for response support.