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'Test-To-Stay' Policy Could Keep Kids In School, CDC Says

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the CDC said a school policy with testing could help kids stay in the classroom. It's called the test-to-stay policy. It allows children who are a close contact of a case to remain in the classroom if they test negative as opposed to quarantining.

Allegheny Health Network pediatrician Dr. Ned Ketyer said schools involved in the study had mandatory masking.

"There have been multiple peer review studies and literature that show that's the best ways to prevent transmission in school," Dr. Ketyer said.

According to the CDC, a school in Illinois was able to persevere about 8,100 school days that otherwise would have been virtual learning days. Currently, the CDC recommendation is to quarantine someone who is a close contact.

"It keeps kids in school. The testing can be done in school. The surveillance for other contacts and contact tracing can be done in school," Dr. Ketyer said.

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit said it will implement this policy. It doesn't have an exact timeline yet.

"The whole point is to keep kids in schools, to keep teachers in schools and to keep schools open. This is just one more strategy in order to do it," AIU Director of Safety and Security Aaron Skrbin said.

The CDC stopped short of recommending the policy. It said it requires a substantial amount of resources in terms of manpower and time. They are including it as a preventative measure in addition to masking and being vaccinated.

"If they're exposed and they don't develop symptoms and never test positive, there is a way to keep them in school," Dr. Ketyer said.

This comes as federal leaders reportedly expect demand for testing to go up.

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