Yellow zone brings 20% testing requirement in schools

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HAMBURG, NY (WIVB) With much of Erie County being elevated to a Yellow Zone Monday, it means that schools in much of Erie County will be required to perform Covid tests on 20% of their in-person students, teachers and staff at least once a week.

“School nurses all across Western New York don’t have a spare second right now given what their being asked to do,” said Hamburg School Superintendent Michael Cornell. He said while the the Erie County Health Department promises to provide the testing supplies, he doesn’t feel his school nurses could be expected to test the 600 students, faculty or staff needed to meet the new 20% requirement.

“We’ve been informed that the local Health Department is not gonna be able to help us in this endeavor, so we have now is a significant gap, which is gonna require a great deal of support beyond what we currently have in our schools,” said Cornell.

At smaller schools like REACH Academy Charter School in Buffalo, the school nurse may be able to collect the samples without help, according to the school’s principal, Linda Marszalek. “I think it’s just gonna be another added measure to help reassure people. I think it’s a good thing. We knew that it would be coming.”

REACH Academy Charter School had a few faculty members test positive in October, but it wasn’t until Friday that they had their very first student test positive, according to Marszalek. “Most of the cases that we have that we found are from situations where they’re contracting it outside we think rather than spreading it within the school.”

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