BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Saratoga County officials announced Monday they are expanding their “Test to Stay” (TTS) protocol to school districts countywide to allow more students to stay in the classroom during COVID-19. TTS is a test-based protocol that allows students who may have been exposed to a positive case to continue attending classes in-person, rather than remotely from home.

Using at-home COVID tests provided by the school, parents must submit negative results prior to the start of a given school day after their child has been exposed. Students who test positive or have any symptoms of the virus must stay home, whereas those who test negative and are in good health may return to the classroom.

Anita Murphy, District Superintendent, Capital Region BOCES said, “Saratoga County and Saratoga County Public Health Services continue to advocate for and support our children and families by ensuring that students can remain in school.  The test to stay program is another tool for schools to keep our students in safe learning environments.  We are grateful for the support of the county and its public health department for their continued support of our schools districts.”

Saratoga County was the first county in the State to implement a TTS program and partnered directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a pilot project in the South Glens Falls School District (SGF) in October 2021.   Through January sixth, 457 SGF students have enrolled in test to stay and only four tested positive (0.875%).   Ninety-six-percent (96%) of parents consented to have their child participate, which saved nearly 1800 days of in-person instruction.  TTS allows schools to maximize instruction time and minimize interruptions to learning. 

Many school districts across Saratoga County will begin offering the program this week. To lessen the burden of TTS on schools and families, Saratoga County Public Health Services has launched an online portal to assist in timely surveillance and data management.

Theodore T. Kusnierz, Jr., Town of Moreau Supervisor and Chair of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors said, “During the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become abundantly clear that the best place for children to be is in the classroom, not only for education but also for their social and emotional well-being. I am excited to announce we are now expanding the successful pilot ‘Test to Stay’ program to students throughout the county. Saratoga County is committed to making our response to COVID-19 our top priority where we  lead the state in effective, innovative  response measures and we will continue to respond with measures that are in the best interest of our residents.”

For more information about Saratoga County’s Coronavirus response, visit their website.