CENTRAL SQUARE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Governor Kathy Hochul announced Monday that six million COVID-19 at-home tests will be delivered this week to school districts across the state. It’s part of her effort to keep kids safe and in the classroom when they return after the holidays.
While school districts await further guidance on those tests, COVID-19 testing has already been a cornerstone for districts to keep kids and staff safe. That’s especially true for the Central Square School District, whose superintendent says testing is key to stopping the spread.
“As a school leader, I want to be able to provide those students in a safe way all of those opportunities, the musicals, the whole nine yards, because it’s not 2020 anymore. It’s almost 2022. We’re still dealing with this and I think COVID is going to be one of those things we just have to get used to and provide safe ways for students to still have those opportunities,” Tom Colabufo, Central Square Superintendent says.
As of right now, the district plans to come back into the new year business as usual, and that’s largely because of their consistent testing efforts.
“We’ve had the opportunity to test students for several months now,” Colabufo says. “The overwhelming majority of parents have given permission to our school district to be able to test any asymptomatic students so that’s been amazing in keeping the continuity of the education system going.”
The district not only tests in school, but offers testing on Sundays too so that parents and staff can plan ahead. Colabufo says the only reason the district would have to go remote in the new year would all boil down to bus drivers. He says he has a plan, if there is ever a time that the district doesn’t have enough staff.
“If that were to be the case, what we would do if we were in that situation and we haven’t come close yet, but if that were to happen, we would stagger the start day for those runs,” Colabufo says. “Basically, school would start an hour later for (the students impacted) and end an hour later. That would be the only way we would be able to keep in person going.”
That’s the district’s priority: keeping kids safe and in the classroom. So, the district is ramping up testing and offering more clinics this week after interest from parents. Colabufo adds those at-home tests will be a huge help too.
“I think by getting families those tests for free, in their homes, will be a great step in the right direction because people want to do the right thing,” Colabufo says. “And, I think it’s the state’s job, it’s education’s job to make sure they have those resources to be able to do the right thing for their kids.”
Colabufo adds his district is doing well with testing, but their community will certainly welcome additional resources.
Those additional testing clinics are slated for Thursday, Dec. 30th from 9am to 11am and Sunday, January 2nd from 2pm to 4pm. They’ll be held in the nurses office at the high school.