Schools setting up testing for unvaccinated staff and students

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Late last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul mandated school districts across New York to require employees to provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.

She also said that schools should be giving students the option to be tested weekly. But, the mandates came so late, school districts couldn’t get the policies in place for the start of school.

Since then, districts have been working with county health departments to get a plan in place to implement the testing. In Monroe County, Dr. Michael Mendoza tells News10NBC he’s been working with superintendents and expects them to begin testing by the first week of October.

For the time being, school districts will get testing kits from county health departments.

“We anticipate that a number of teachers (and school staff) who have gotten their vaccine will also elect to be tested. I’ve advised the Superintendents that we want to welcome anyone who wants to get tested to have the test and we’re going to offer them at each of the schools,” says Dr. Mendoza.

Right now, Dr. Mendoza says the county has enough testing supplies to cover the first 6-8 weeks and that includes the second part of the mandate, “schools must offer testing to all unvaccinated students which would be all students age 11 and younger and the select students in the higher grades who have not yet gotten the vaccine, we also anticipate that there are going to be many parents of children who are vaccinated who want to get their child tested as well.”

But here’s something Dr. Mendoza wants parents to know, “we will not test anybody who does not have parental consent, I want to be very clear about that, we do not do medical tests on people from whom we don’t have the appropriate permission.”

Rapid testing kits will be used in the schools. If someone tests positive, the district and the county will connect you or your child to a location where you can get a full PCR test to confirm. If it’s positive, the county will direct you on a course of action.

School districts should be sending out more information about individual testing plans and locations in the next week or so.