Gov. Hochul speaks with New York State superintendents

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul Tuesday afternoon spoke to superintendents from across the state in a virtual meeting in response to the uptick in COVID cases among students in the state.

She told them she wants to keep healthy students in school through the surge.

Officials from school districts we spoke to said they got two key takeaways from the meeting, with the first being that the state is preparing to send every BOCES region enough COVID-19 tests to send every student home with a COVID-19 test — quickly — and the state wants the tests in students’ hands as soon as possible.

Canandaigua’s Superintendent Jamie Farr said this directive gives districts a lot to coordinate.

"The way the timing would work out, even the state is saying they don’t know when they’re going to be able to deliver them to us, by Monday they’re saying and Governor Hochul said maybe we can send them home in students backpacks on Monday and just that turnaround is a bit aggressive and she admitted that and she knows that," Farr said.

There are 500 school superintendents in total across New York State.

Bo Wright, president of the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents issued the following statement about the meeting:

"This afternoon, superintendents from across the state had a virtual meeting with Gov. Hochul to discuss the pandemic and its impact on schools. The governor announced the planned distribution of rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits to school districts statewide. These kits are meant for families to screen at home for possible COVID infection in an effort to limit further spread of the virus. There is no definitive date for the distribution of the kits.

"Prior to the December recess, Monroe County distributed 750,000 home testing kits to school districts to allow families to test for COVID before gathering with family and friends outside their households. Testing will not be required for all students and staff in order to return to school after the break.

"School districts in Monroe County are committed to doing everything possible to remain open for in-person instruction."