With Schools Back in Session, Hochul Announces Availability of COVID-19 Test Kits and Masks

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of the childcare center at the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York.Photo byPhoto by J.M. Lesinski

As schools reopen for the fall across the state, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced the availability of COVID-19 rapid test kits and masks by request for school and BOCES districts following the recent rise in cases and hospitalizations that occurred earlier this summer.

“Thanks to the hard work of New York schools, teachers, and parents, we have come a long way to ensure students can safely return to the classroom,” Hochul remarked. “Frequent testing for COVID-19 is an important part of keeping our kids safe and preventing an outbreak, and I will continue working to ensure our school districts have the resources they need to provide a safe, in-person learning environment for our students.”

During the current week, New York state will be conducting outreach services to New York State Education Department and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in order to gauge the need for masks and test kits. Only after requests are submitted will the requested items be delivered.

“As we start the new school year, and once again see an uptick in COVID-19 across the State, I urge all students, teachers and parents to remember COVID tests are easy to use as well as highly accurate,” commented New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “Also know that COVID is a treatable disease. If you have symptoms, get tested. If you test positive, stay home and stay away from other people, especially those who are vulnerable to serious illness. And, to improve your chances of not having serious illness, speak with a health care provider about treatment. I thank Governor Hochul for working to provide school districts with critical resources to ensure that children have a successful and safe school year."

As always, the CDC also has the following recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases: the promotion of vaccination and testing, encouraging students, teachers, and faculty to stay home if they are sick or have symptoms, optimizing ventilation and indoor air quality to reduce germs spreading in the air, and proper handwashing and hygiene practices.

“It is with great excitement and anticipation that I welcome all students, teachers, and school leaders back to school for the 2023-24 school year,” New York State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa stated of the announcement. “The health and safety of everyone in our school communities is paramount as we once again return for in-person instruction, and we must remain vigilant. The State Education Department and Board of Regents reminds everyone to review and follow CDC guidance. The Department, in conjunction with Governor Hochul and the State Department of Health, will continue to monitor the situation to ensure all students have a safe school environment where they can learn and grow.”

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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