Superintendent: Test to stay policy ‘extremely effective’ at Wappingers Central Schools

For students – more cases of COVID-19 mean more quarantines and time out of the classroom. But at Wappingers Central School District, the largest in Dutchess County, a new “test to stay” policy is keeping them from missing in-class instruction.
News 12 reported last week that the policy allows close COVID contacts to avoid quarantine by testing negative every day. The students who had close contact with a coronavirus case will need a daily test for seven days following exposure.
"Fortunately, at this point, we've probably returned over 150 students," says Dr. Dwight Bonk, the superintendent at Wappingers Central School District.
Other districts like Poughkeepsie City Schools say they are continuing to figure out how the program would work. Putnam County schools have already opted out of the program. Rockland officials noted difficulties meeting state health requirements.
The state Department of Health doesn't recommend test to stay as an option, but local health departments can choose to do so only if it can provide COVID-19 tests before each school day for all students at every district, among other requirements.
"Every morning – we’ve worked with the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health to secure a vendor. That vendor is here for two hours, and they test," says Dr. Bonk.
News 12 was told that Dutchess County's Department of Behavioral and Community Health works with interested school districts to provide testing kits with school reopening funds -- and now -- they're seeing little to no sustained transmission at schools.
"It's been extremely effective in returning students to our classrooms, which is where we can all agree, they belong," said Dr. Bonk.