Schools must partially fund testing for students

Island school officials will soon decide whether or not to fund $150,000 for testing of students and staff during reopening. 

According to school physician Dr. Jeff Zack, at an All-Island School Committee meeting, the schools will have to fill in a part of the cost to pay for regular testing, and must also decide whether testing should be mandatory for all school buildings.

“At some point, you will have to vote this in order to move this system forward. It won’t work if you are thinking that down the road, you might need to go back. All or nothing means this program only works if every person that goes into that building gets tested,” he said. “Are the school committees going to make this a mandatory opt-in or opt-out system?”

Zack also said that health officials are trying to keep the cost down to “two or three dollars a test,” and noted how emerging technology for COVID-19 testing is rapidly changing.

“Every week that goes by, there is a potential for a different technology that comes out. We have committed to one technology, and I think it’s a good technology,” he said. 

Superintendent Matt D’Andrea said there is a working group that is putting together the plans and structure for testing in schools. “We would just like a little more time to find some money for this initiative,” he said.

He said he could have language around the requirement to the school committees with enough time for officials to review it before a meeting and possible vote.