Massena urges use of at-home COVID-19 tests

MASSENA — Massena Central School families had until the end of Thursday to notify their child’s school that they did not want a COVID-19 testing kit, but Superintendent Patrick H. Brady encouraged all families to consider receiving one.

“We strongly suggest that parents conduct one of these tests on their student on Monday, January 10th prior to sending them to school that morning. You may utilize the second test at your discretion — for example, if your student begins showing symptoms of COVID-19,” Mr. Brady said in a message to families on Wednesday.

St. Lawrence County students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 are scheduled to bring COVID test kits home on Friday, to be available for testing before the child goes to school on Monday.

“As has been reported in the media, New York state has made thousands of at-home COVID-19 test kits available to schools statewide. State and local health officials are providing these tests as a resource to schools and families,” Mr. Brady said. “These test kits were delivered to our local BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) over the weekend and are currently being distributed to each of our schools.”

He said the purpose behind the tests was to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within the community “as part of the ongoing effort to keep our school buildings open for in-person instruction.”

The tests can be used even if a student is not exhibiting signs of COVID-19. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with COVID-19 may have fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

Any positive test results from an at-home test must be reported to the local health department and school nurse. An online form can be found on the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department website.

“You do not need to report test results obtained elsewhere, and you do not need to report negative results,” Mr. Brady said.

If a child has a symptom of COVID-19, they should be tested at home using a rapid test, or at a clinic, doctor’s office or testing sites.

“Anyone with a positive test result should isolate and contact St. Lawrence County Public Health,” he said.

For more information on testing, quarantine and isolation, visit wdt.me/SLCCovid.

Anyone with questions or concerns can call district Head Nurse AnneMarie Miller at 315-764-3700, ext. 3101.

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