RCSD addresses why it has not implemented ‘test to stay’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — While most suburban school districts in Monroe County have implemented "test to stay", a system that allows students who may have been exposed to COVID-19, but who are not sick, to stay in school if they test negative for the virus every morning, the Rochester City School District is not.

Last week, the RCSD said it had more than 230 students in quarantine, but Marisol Lopez, a spokesperson for the district, said it’s a manpower issue.

"We do not have the staffing necessary to implement test to stay and do not want to implement a program we cannot do to fidelity," Lopez said.

Lopez says the seven-day total of students in quarantine for the Rochester City School District last week was 324. In the Brighton School District, which has test to stay, Lopez says it was six.

"Our numbers are simply extremely large in comparison to other districts," Lopez said.

In the past week, Rochester Mayor-Elect Malik Evans talked to the school district about this. He says he understands its problem.

"Rochester is bigger than East Rochester, right?" Evans said. "You got 20,000 students there. But my biggest thing is that I want kids in school."

Another factor is that there are some city ZIP codes where the vaccination rate is nearly half of the vaccination rate in a neighboring suburban ZIP code. Vaccinated children don’t have to test to stay in school if they don’t have symptoms.

RCSD said it has no plans to change unless the state decides to make test to stay mandatory.