GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Guilderland Central School District has officially implemented the statewide “Test to Stay” program to help keep students in school despite exposure to COVID.
“My top goal is to keep healthy children, healthy students in school and the virus out,” said Dr. Marie Wiles, Guilderland Superintendent of Schools. With parental permission, the ‘Test to Stay’ program will allow asymptomatic, unvaccinated students who have been in direct contact with a COVID-19 positive student while at school. Students would take rapid tests multiple times a week as opposed to staying at home to quarantine. Tests will be supplied by the district.
“We are seeing the terrible impact of having so many kids out of school last year for either remote instruction or hybrid instruction both academically, socially, and emotionally, kids really need to be in school,” said Wiles.
How does the ‘Test to Stay’ program work? The student must test negative three times during a seven-day period, following the exposure. The testing will be done at all seven Guilderland District schools. As always, a parent or guardian has the right to quarantine their child instead of getting a test.
When a positive case is identified, normal contact tracing will take place. A school administrator will contact families of students who are considered a close contact of a COVID-positive individual. The family can agree to have their student tested three times—or approximately every other day—during the week following the exposure, instead of having them quarantined during school hours. Testing will be done in each school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. A negative test will keep students in school, but will not exempt them from any other restrictions of quarantine, including school-based extracurricular activities.
- All GCSD unvaccinated students in grades K-12 who would be placed in quarantine because of a school-related COVID-19 exposure are eligible, provided they are asymptomatic.
- Siblings of a positive student will be required to quarantine.
- Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are not required to quarantine and will not need to take part in the Test to Stay program during that 90 day period.
Guilderland Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles says this program is just one piece of the puzzle to combat the spread of COVID-19, she continues to urge parents to get their kids vaccinated if their eligible. “I encourage people to do their homework about vaccinations and follow through.” The program doesn’t apply to fully vaccinated students, per under CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated kids don’t need to quarantine if they become exposed and don’t display symptoms.
The ‘Test to Stay’ program only applies to direct exposures at school. If a student is exposed to COVID-19 outside of the school setting, that student will be required to follow the quarantine protocol for contacts of a positive case established by the Albany County Department of Health.