(The Center Square) – Resources and information have been distributed to Vermont school districts to help keep more children in school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor said Tuesday.
In a Press releaseGovernor Phil Scott said all public and independent schools will now be able to conduct COVID-19 tests.
“We all know how important it is to keep children in school – it is a public health imperative,” Scott said in the statement. “But what we’ve seen so far is that many students have had to quarantine themselves after possible exposure and never become a case. It is precious classroom time that is wasted for the student and difficult for parents and schools to manage. By adding these additional tools to the toolkit, we can minimize disruption, identify cases faster, and most importantly, keep our children in school, so they can get education and opportunities for social interaction. that they deserve.
According to the statement, the state is partnering with the Education Agency, the Ministry of Health and public health partners in an effort to provide schools with the tools to respond to cases. The resources were provided free of charge.
“Response testing is an essential tool for Vermont schools that strive to sustain student learning, and a key part of our efforts to support hard-working Vermont school staff and educators,” said Education Secretary Dan French. “Right now the most important thing we can [do] for the long-term success of students is to keep them in the classroom as much as possible. Along with the current surveillance testing program, these new tools will help ensure that students are attending, learning, and engaged in the other essential activities that Vermont education provides. “
Schools will use PCR and rapid antigen testing, which “allows schools to dramatically reduce the time other students may have to spend outside of the classroom,” the statement said. Additionally, students or teachers who test for COVID-19 may be removed from quarantine unless they are in quarantine and showing symptoms.
Schools will use three testing tools, the statement said, “to give schools the flexibility to respond directly to specific cases.”
Test to Stay will allow students who are not vaccinated and who are in close contact with a case of COVID-19 “to take a daily antigen test at the start of the school day,” the statement said. Students who test negative can go to class and then take a daily test for seven days after exposure.
The PCR tests will allow schools to test “close unvaccinated contacts outside quarantine” and “to test close contacts vaccinated 3 to 5 days after exposure, the statement said.
Schools will also receive home PCR tests, which distribute kits to students, staff and family members in need of testing.