Massachusetts schools will no longer receive state support for COVID-19 testing programs
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is ending its COVID-19 testing program.
The state said it will stop supporting testing entirely beginning in the fall — including providing rapid test kits or any testing services. This means school districts will be left to come up with their own programs to test for COVID-19.
Westfield Superintendent of Schools Stefan Czaporowski said the current program has helped to keep students and staff who came down with COVID-19 home and away from school. He said he would like to have seen the current program continued at least for another year.
"The pandemic has not been eradicated and so districts are going to be forced to use our own funding to continue these programs, which are necessary in order to keep our schools open and safe," Czaporowski said.
John Provost, the superintendent of Northampton Public Schools, also said the current program is very helpful.
"We've had good participation in both the pool testing and the at-home testing program," Provost said. "I think that it helped us develop the confidence we needed to be back in school this year."
In a notice to school districts, Jeff Riley, the state commissioner of elementary and secondary education, did not say why the program is being discontinued.
"I am grateful for your diligence and resourcefulness over the last two years, including using our testing program as one of many important mitigation strategies to maintain in-person learning for our students," he wrote.
Individual school districts will be able to purchase COVID-19 rapid test kits at a discount under the state's contract.