Area schools testing students for COVID-19 who are not vaccinated

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Area schools have begun testing students and staff who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The superintendent of the West Irondequoit Central School District says 3.7% of the district’s student population opted in for COVID-19 testing and since testing began this week, not a single student has tested positive.

"Out of 132, we split it in half. So this week half of those kids will be tested, next week the other half will be tested and then we rotate through. So every week we’re testing students," said Dr. Aaron Johnson the Superintendent of the West Irondequoit School District.

Thirty-three percent of the district’s staff is either unvaccinated or chose not to disclose their vaccination status. Johnson said they will be tested every week.

"The only reason we’re starting with staff next week is because of the sheer number, we had to contract out for some services on that. We just couldn’t put the extra burden on our nurses," Johnson said.

Monroe County’s Health Commissioner hopes by regularly testing the unvaccinated in schools, if there is a positive case, not as many people will be impacted.

"In the usual classroom, if everybody is wearing their mask, if one person has an asymptomatic infection but was masked otherwise, that wouldn’t change the quarantine number at all," said Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County Public Health Commissioner.

Testing is going well now, but Johnson wonders if supplies will become an issue.

"Right now we have the tests we need for the short term but the question mark is, is that flow going to continue, or is that going to be pinched off? And I’ll tell you, talking with some superintendents outside of Monroe County and some other counties, they don’t have any tests right now," Johnson said.

But Mendoza said that’s not the case for local school districts.

“They indicated they did have enough testing for now. And I said if you are in need of additional supplies they now know they can reach out directly to the State and they’re always welcome to contact us at the County as well," Mendoza said.

Gates-Chili, Pittsford, Penfield, and Fairport have also begun testing.

Penfield has had one positive case.

Fairport and Pittsford have not had any positive cases since testing began.

Gates-Chili did not provide us with numbers.

East Rochester and Spencerport will begin testing tomorrow.

Brighton will also begin testing week.

Greece will begin testing next week.

Rush Henrietta will start in two weeks.