Millville School District launches ‘test-to-stay’ COVID-19 program at 2 schools
A Cumberland County school district is hoping to keep students in the classroom rather than at home learning virtually.
“We are better serving our students if they are in school, healthy,” says Millville Schools Superintendent Tony Trongone.
Trongone says that it was important to bring COVID-19 testing to the district’s families. The district launched a “test-to-stay” program this week at the preschool and one of the elementary schools. It is an optional program.
Trongone says students who are asymptomatic "will get tested on Day 1 after exposure to a positive person, Day 3 and Day 5.” The child will stay in the classroom for those five days as long as they are negative.
If the child is symptomatic or if they opt out of the program, they will automatically be quarantined and learn virtually until they test negative.
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Millville has had just over 300 cases of COVID-19 this school year and many more close calls.
“In a high-needs district, we feed more than 70% of our kids on free and reduced lunch. They eat here, they get their structure here, as well as their academics,” Trongone says. “So, we want to make sure they’re here learning and they’re safe, they’re warm and they’re fed. And we’re doing all we can for them.”
The superintendent says not only does this program keep children in school and learning in person, but it also helps out parents who may not have the option to work from home should their child have to quarantine.
“A great deal of our parents, they earn an hourly wage and their jobs, for the most part, are jobs where they have to go into work to work,” Trongone says.
The district is working with Grapefruit Health to provide the testing. School officials say they plan to expand the “test-to-stay” program to their other schools soon.
Milleville joins other schools with similar programs, like Hoboken and Lakewood.