School districts distribute rapid COVID tests

At-home rapid COVID tests are hard to come by these days. Many stores sold out before the holidays.

At Watervliet High School, they have boxes of them, just arrived, and school staff has already begun handing them out on the first day back from break.

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"It’s been a busy day," said Watervliet Schools Superintendent Dr. Donald Stevens. "It’s been catching up, making sure we follow protocols and making sure people know how long their isolations or quarantines are so that they know when they can come back."

North Colonie is giving out test kits, too. Each box has two tests.

Superintendent D. Joseph Corr hopes they will give people peace of mind.

Over the holidays, many people traveled or gathered with family and friends.

"That’s one thing that will happen, it will give our families, and it will give us as a school district a greater idea of the extent of what occurred with the COVID-19 exposure over the holidays," Corr said.

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Both North Colonie and Watervliet also have been offering testing this year for symptomatic students at school clinics.

North Colonie also held a testing clinic over the weekend for teachers, for some peace of mind, and to get a better idea of staffing. The idea is to help fight the spread of COVID, and keep schools open at a time when local numbers are high and growing.

"The goal is that we know that in-person learning is best for kids. It has been, and we want to make sure we can provide kids with a safe place," said Stevens.

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Stevens said they just got word Sunday night from Albany County that they can do "Test to Stay," which means that students who were in close contact with a COVID case in school can stay in school if they get tested several times after exposure.