RCSD, County and City still working to coordinate test to stay

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Despite Thursday’s record-high number of new COVID cases reported in one day in Monroe County, County Executive Adam Bello, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza and Gov. Kathy Hochul all say they want kids in school on Monday after winter break.

All school-aged children will be getting rapid testing kits to bring home but the "test to stay" program is also crucial to keeping schools open.

The only local district that opted out is the Rochester City School District, but it is now reconsidering.

The RCSD originally said it didn’t have the manpower and resources to pull it off, but every other school district in Monroe County is doing it.

Parents and some school board members were outraged that city school children wouldn’t get the same opportunity—especially considering they were learning remotely the longest during the last wave of the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the district told News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke it would reach back out to the county, the city and the state to see if it could get resources lined up to pull it off.

Lewke asked Bello and Mendoza about those meetings on Thursday.

“We just had a very productive meeting yesterday [Wednesday] to talk about what types of support they would need in order to implement that,” Bello said.

“When it comes to vaccinations or testing we’re happy to provide supplies and training but as you heard from the county executive the thing we all lack is that staffing pace so where we stand ready to help the city and however way we can we just don’t have the staff to have to donate to them to support the test to stay effort at the moment,” Mendoza said.

Lewke was told it’s all still being worked on, but there is nothing definite yet.

As soon as the city school district reaches a final decision based on the help it is able to line up, News10NBC will report the update.

On Thursday, the district tweeted a reopening message, saying it is asking all students to self-test for COVID-19 before returning to school on Monday and to stay home if they are sick. There are how-to videos posted on its website.