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December 9, 2021 - 11:35pm

8 lawmakers sign letter urging the governor and Department of Health to take action

posted by Press Release in state, news, COVID-19, NYS Department of Health.

Press Release:

The letter states, “Without question, no one cares about the health and well-being of our region’s children more than parents and local school administrators, faculty, and staff. In addition, it is undeniable that students benefit from in-person instruction and that every effort should be madeto keep kids in school. As such, we believe that we should respect the parents & school administrator’s opinions, guidance, and data regarding the viability, effectiveness, and safety of developing a “Test to Stay” program for schools.”

The letter:

Dear Governor Hochul:
We are writing to request that the New York State Department of Health work with local school districts to develop “Test to Stay” guidelines for students. It is our understanding that several districts from across the Erie- Niagara region have already contacted you as well as the Department of Health with this request, and as elected officials representing this area, we urge you to consider their request. Without question, no one cares about the health and well-being of our region’s children more than parents and local school administrators, faculty, and staff. In addition, it is undeniable that students benefit from in-person instruction and that every effort should be made to keep kids in school. As such, we believe that we should respect the parents & school administrator’s opinions, guidance, and data regarding the viability, effectiveness, and safety of developing a “Test to Stay” program for schools. According to the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association (ENSSA), in a regional survey of 30 districts between September 1st and October 14th of this year, approximately 2500 students have been quarantined, and fewer than 2% ever tested positive for COVID-19 during their quarantine period. Meaning nearly 2,450 healthy students missed significant learning time in the classroom because the State does not allow local districts to establish guidelines for students who have proven to be healthy, to return to school. As you recently noted, the current surge in COVID-19 cases is different, and as a society and government, we are much more knowledgeable and better equipped to confront ongoing challenges. We respectfully ask that you honor the ENSSA’s request and “require the Department of Health to: 1. Help keep healthy children in school by providing technical, financial, and other necessary support to facilitate statewide implementation of a “Test to Stay” strategy. 2. Replace open-ended COVID-19 related mandates and restrictions with data and science-based metrics for implementation and de-implementation of mitigation strategies.” While not perfect, we believe that a robust “Test to Stay” program is the best option to keep our children safe and ensure that healthy children can reenter the classroom as quickly and safely as possible. Serial testing has proven successful in other states across the nation, and we would encourage New York State to develop, adopt, and support a “Test to Stay” program for local schools.

Thank you for your consideration of this critical matter. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

EDWARD A. RATH III
State Senator – 61st District             

Robert G. Ortt                                           Patrick M. Gallivan
State Senator – 62nd District             State Senator – 59th District

George M. Borrello                                     Michael J. Norris
State Senator – 57th District                  State Assemblyman – 144th District

Angelo J. Morinello                                      David DiPietro
State Assemblyman – 145th District      State Assemblyman – 147th District

Joseph M. Giglio
State Assemblyman – 148th District

 

    

 

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