BRIDGEWATER, NJ — While some schools across the country begin implementing "test-to-stay" protocols to minimize absenteeism, the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District said it is not planning to do so at this time.
"At this point, we are not ready to commit as the district is not sure of the supports offered by the [Department of Education] related to the implementation of this program," said Superintendent Dr. Robert Beers.
The Test-to-Stay program consists of contact tracing and testing that is sequentially repeated to allow school-associated close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to remain in school.
It has not been officially endorsed by the CDC, but it has been highlighted as a way to keep more students in K-12 schools during the pandemic.
In a statement released on Dec. 17, the CDC said "test-to-stay" is a valuable tool that includes "promoting vaccination of eligible students and staff, requiring everyone age 2 and older [to] wear a mask inside schools and facilities, keeping at least 3 feet of distance between students, screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and staying home when sick."
The Biden administration also said Wednesday it will provide 10 million free COVID-19 tests a month to U.S. schools to keep classes in person in New Jersey and elsewhere amid the omicron surge.
The tests — 5 million rapid tests and 5 million lab-based PCR tests — will be available to schools starting this month. Read More: 10M COVID Tests Monthly To U.S. Schools: What It Means In NJ
Since Jan. 8, the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District reported 177 new cases and a total of 1,331 since the beginning of the school year.
Here is a breakdown of positive cases at each school from Jan. 8 through Jan. 13 (along with the total since the beginning of the school year):
Adamsville - 12 (84)
Bradley Gardens - 6 (36)
Crim - 11 (85)
Hamilton - 6(64)
Kennedy - 11 (67)
Milltown - 1 (40)
Van Holten - 6 (46)
Hillside - 11 (111)
Eisenhower - 22 (109)
Middle School - 30(236)
High School - 61 (435)
District Support Staff - 0 (18)
Nearby in Warren Township, the Board of Education approved a Test-to-Stay program in December in advance of New Jersey Department Of Health's guidelines.
"This week, the district piloted the Test to Stay program and has now launched it for all students and staff members who meet the program requirements, as outlined by NJDOH," said Superintendent Dr. Matthew Mingle.
Have a news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.