NewsChannel 9 goes inside Park Hill Pre-K as 4-year-olds are among 1st students tested in ‘yellow zone’

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EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Four-year-olds at Park Hill Pre-K were among the first students to be tested for COVID-19 as part of Onondaga County’s commitment to keeping schools in the “yellow zone” open for in-person learning.

With permission from the superintendent and parents of students who were recorded, NewsChannel 9 was given exclusive access into the testing room.

Students who may have entered the room stressed or anxious, left with a thumbs-up or giggle.

The test Onondaga County is using in schools involves a swab twirled around the nostril as opposed to shoved far up the nose.

Better yet, results are back in about 15 minutes. All of the students at Park Hill tested negative.

In East Syracuse-Minoa, parents are invited to be there for their child’s test. Liverpool also planned on the same option.

Starting Monday and all next week, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says his teams will test students and staff at 61 school buildings.

20% of the school’s in-person population is required to be tested in order for buildings in the state-designated “yellow zone” to stay open. That number has to be met every week for an unspecified time.

Friday, Onondaga County let newly-trained testers observe the operation at Park Hill before they go out and lead the testing next week.

Each district in the “yellow zone” sent a survey to parents to gauge the interest in having students tested. More than the required 20% volunteered in ES-M, City of Syracuse, Liverpool, and Solvay.

Word of Life Academy in Baldwinsville, on Thursday, and Solvay Elementary School, on Friday, join Park Hill as the first three schools tested.

There hasn’t been a single positive case, according to McMahon.

Parents of students in other school buildings should look out for an email from their schools in the coming days.

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For more local news, follow Andrew Donovan on Twitter @AndrewDonovan.

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