School districts prepare for yellow-zone micro-cluster testing

Classroom Progress Report

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — School districts across Albany County are preparing a strategy to test their in-person student body for COVID-19 if the rolling seven-day positivity rate remains above three percent.

“Our aim is to facilitate the process as much as possible so that [school districts] can make the decision not on resources but what’s best for their student population,” said Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen.

In what could happen as early as the first week of December, 20 percent of the student body will be tested every week. This effort is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s yellow-zone micro-cluster strategy.  

“We’re working with [school districts] to determine what their 20 percent capacity looks like, whether they have capacity within their staff, and then coordinating with the state when getting supplies,” Whalen said. 

Cash-strapped school districts already suffered from a 20-percent reduction in state aid. 

“[Testing] is an additional cost that was not planned,” said Albany City School District Superintendent Dr. Kaweeda Adams.

The school district is bringing on three substitute nurses to help administer tests. School districts require parent approval first.  

“Yes, we have had hiccups along the way, but that’s with any new process. But I think we are doing a very good job,” Adams said. 

The South Colonie Central School District wasn’t as hard hit by the 20 percent reeducation in aid Like ACSD. Though, Superintendent Dr. David Perry shared a similar experience with this latest hurdle.

“My biggest hope is that we fall below that seven day rolling average,” Perry said. “Ultimately, we’ve come a long way since March of last year. We need to continue to be vigilant,” Perry said. 

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