Cuomo’s comments about COVID testing surprise local school officials

WWNY Cuomo’s comments about COVID testing surprise local school officials

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - School districts may have to test students for COVID-19 directly - something that school officials say caught them off guard.

School districts across the north country submitted their reopening plans last Friday, but new information has some school officials asking questions.

In a briefing on Monday, Governor Cuomo said schools should have plans in place to test students for COVID-19.

"If you don't have the details for each school, then you don't have a plan, because how can a parent make a decision," said Cuomo.

Massena Central School District Superintendent Pat Brady says he was surprised by the announcement.

"It wasn't on our radar to provide testing in schools. So again, it was surprising because we had not received any guidance that school districts would be testing centers," he said.

Brady says the guidelines from the Department of Health and the New York State Education Department didn't say they would be directly testing students and other school officials feel this goes against state regulations.

"It's strongly recommended that schools comply with CDC guidance and not conduct COVID-19 testing, a required testing, or antibody testing of students or staff members," said Patrick Farrand, superintendent of Lisbon Central School District.

Brady and Farrand both say they were under the impression that all testing would be done by an outisde health provider.

Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Stephen Todd says they will be working with school districts to implement these new changes.

"We are going to do everything in our power to plan for and then implement the safest possible return to school for all of our school community folks: kids; staff members, and the community," he said.

Todd says he and others are waiting for more reopening guidance from Governor Cuomo at the end of this week.

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