Vermont ed officials urge schools to ramp up COVID tests

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 4:40 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont education officials are recommending schools consider mass testing ahead of the upcoming holiday vacation.

Over 170 schools are using rapid antigen tests to screen unvaccinated students identified as close contacts. Education officials say the program has been highly successful in keeping kids in class and avoiding two-week quarantines at home. But Vt. Education Secretary Dan French says some test kits are nearing their expiration date, so the agency is urging schools to use them before they go bad by testing all eligible students.

“This will help us identify additional cases prior to the holiday vacation and give families some additional peace of mind as they gather for the holidays,” French said.

He says more and more schools are rolling out the Test to Stay program but dozens of public schools are still not using the tests and are instead forced to send home any unvaccinated students considered to be close contacts of a positive case.

Vaccinated students do not have to test or quarantine. Only about half of Vermont’s 5 to 11-year-olds have gotten a shot while three-quarters of high schoolers are vaccinated.

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