Modified: January 7, 2022 4:37pm
ERIE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PRESENTS TEST TO STAY PROGRAM TO SCHOOL LEADERS & DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENTS
Plans in place for the initiative to begin for many schools next week
ERIE COUNTY, NY – At a virtual meeting today with more than 150 Erie County school administrators, district superintendents and nursing staff from public, private and charter schools, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) and its Epidemiology School Team presented Test to Stay (TTS) protocols for p-12 students. This program may start for many schools as early as next week.
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued specific documentation related to TTS for schools in December 2021. ECDOH reviewed that information along with the results of a TTS pilot program at Grand Island Central School District in December, and updates to NYSDOH isolation and quarantine guidance made as recently as January 4, 2022.
“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.”
The ECDOH TTS plan 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.
The goal of this program is to maximize the time that students spend learning in classrooms, while minimizing the risks associated with COVID-19 transmission following a known exposure in-school COVID-19 exposure.
Schools will perform COVID-19 testing on eligible students whose parents provided consent to participate on a schedule recommended by ECDOH. Fully vaccinated students are not subject to quarantine under current NYSDOH guidance, and will not be eligible for the Test to Stay program.
ECDOH 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. Eligible p-12 schools must have a Limited Service License from NYSDOH, and a medical director. Schools will be able to pick up those orders when available next week and should expect to receive additional COVID-19 rapid tests from NYSDOH.
ECDOH, COVID-19 vaccine info & clinic schedule: http://www.erie.gov/vax
ECDOH, COVID-19 Information Line: (716) 858-2929 – foreign language interpretation available
ECDOH, COVID-19 Weekly Data Updates: https://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=covid-19-media-data