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As Health Department reiterates Test to Stay policy, superintendent hopes for return to 'normalization' of schools

Eileen Buckley

New York State’s Test to Stay policy went in to affect across school districts in Erie County last week. The plan calls for students to continue attending classes if they been exposed to

The COVID-19 virus in school and are asymptomatic. A trial run of the policy began in the Grand Island school district in December and the same program is being run next door in Massachusetts.

Erie Niagara Superintendents Association President Michael Cornell said Test to Stay works in keeping kids out of unnecessary quarantines.

“It does what it's designed to do which is keep healthy kids in school and help us do what we can to keep COVID out of school,” he said.

The next step Cornell believes is moving towards mask less classes to start the 2023 school year.

“We've been asking the governor in New York State Department of Health for months for some kind of schedule or understanding of their thought process around an off ramp for all this stuff,” said Cornell, who also serves as Hamburg Central School District Superintendent. “Like at the beginning of the year, when we started talking about a mask mandate in schools, we said masks for now not masks forever. That's still true. We cannot mask our children in school forever.”

Meanwhile the Buffalo Teachers Federation issued a statement Thursday calling for more clarity and enforcement of district COVID-19 protocols to keep students, families, staff and the community safe.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.