Starpoint hopes to keep more kids in school by testing them for COVID-19 on school grounds

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The Starpoint Central School District opened their very own PCR rapid testing clinic for students who have a runny nose, cough, nasal congestion or other symptoms associated with Covid-19.

District leaders say they’re testing them in school instead of at an outside clinic, saving the students from missing days of classroom instruction.

“If a student comes down with a headache or runny nose, we can’t say that’s not covid, so that’s when we would typically refer  out, and now we’re doing the testing right on site,” said Sean Croft, district superintendent.  

They test about four to five students each day. Croft says it helps cut down on the amount of school days the kids miss when they have to leave school to get tested at an outside clinic. 

“We were seeing about four to five days of lost instructional time and about 80 percent of the time the child was negative.”

Croft says the onsite testing is different from the Test to Stay protocol allowed by New York State Department of Health. The Test to Stay protocol is for unvaccinated students who are in close contact with a positive case and who may or may not be showing symptoms. Starpoint’s onsite testing is for kids and staff who are showing symptoms.

“We’re hoping that’s the next step to get an approved Test to Stay program, however, there’s some issues with that one of the things you need to run a successful Test to Stay program is lots of rapid antigen tests, thousands,” Croft said. “You think of ten students out on quarantine, you have to test them for seven straight days to make sure they’re negative, that’s 70 test right there.”

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