Could New Testing Model Cut Down On School Quarantines?

Sep 3, 2021

Proponents of a new strategy known as "Test-and-Stay" argue it could help Kentucky schools avoid the large COVID-19 quarantines that lead to school closures.

Credit Josh James / WUKY

Test-and-Stay or Test-to-Stay are phrases Kentuckians are likely to hear in the coming weeks as Republican legislators sort through alternative COVID-19 mitigation strategies in schools.

"The Test-and-Stay model says if you've been exposed in a classroom of a positive, with the local health department testing every day that student should be in quarantine and with parental permission, those students are staying in the school building as long as they test negative," Senate President Pro Tem David Givens explained on KET's Kentucky Tonight this week.

The method is already working "very effectively" in some Kentucky schools, according to the senator.

But it could present challenges in larger districts. And Gov. Andy Beshear had questions Thursday about what happens after a positive test. If a district were to opt for the model, masking would be a must, he said.

"There's no way you could do it without (masking) because by the time that person tested positive, how much infection is there out there?" the governor commented.

Implementation of the Test-and-Stay strategy would likely remain the decision of local districts, with lawmakers potentially asking the state to create models for administrators to adopt if they choose.