Syracuse offers back-to-school COVID-19 testing

Onondaga County

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — Back-to-school testing was in full swing at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse on Tuesday. All told, 217 students, teachers, school staff, and family members lined up for a free COVID-19 rapid test before heading back to the classroom for in-person instruction.

Out of those 217 swabs, four tests came back positive, according to Onondaga County:

Brianna Young is getting ready to send her daughter, Nora, off to pre-K on Friday. She says one of the most important things on their back-to-school list was getting tested for coronavirus:

It was important to make sure that she was healthy, especially because kids are often times asymptomatic. Not everybody is going to have their child tested, and I can do my part to make sure she’s healthy and that she’s keeping my family healthy and also her friends in school.

The Atherton family of five from Baldwinsville had a similar approach about being proactive. “We just wanted to make sure the kids were all set before they went back to school. We don’t want to be those folks who take COVID into the classroom. It took us five minutes here. Nobody complained too much and it’s a rapid test and why not keep the kids as safe as possible?” said Chris Atherton, a school district father.

Weekly COVID-19 testing is a state requirement for any school staff member who is not vaccinated. Teaching assistants Bernard Washington and Solomon Singleton were tested on Tuesday in hopes of negative results before heading back to Syracuse City Schools on Wednesday.

“We want to make sure that everyone is safe,” Washington said. “This virus that’s going around is very dangerous, and if we can do our part as teachers in the district getting tested weekly or getting vaccinated, it will help with the amount of people getting this virus.”

The weekly testing requirement ultimately pushed both teaching assistants to get vaccinated. Singleton already has one dose of the vaccine and Washington said he has his first appointment scheduled on Friday. “I got the email that we were going to do this weekly,” he said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I need to go and get vaccinated.’ Because I didn’t want to do this every week.”

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