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Will there be enough COVID-19 tests available to keep schools open?

If schools have to do more testing to stay open – will they?

Well, new reporting by Gannett indicates that schools will struggle to pay for it, and there could also be testing shortages.

Port Chester was one of those schools placed in an orange zone last months because of the Governor placing the district in an orange zone.

Superintendent Edward Kliszus said going remote was necessary at that point. They moved to go remote for the remainder of the semester – looking at returning in January – if restrictions are lifted.

“We can’t pay for it,” Kliszus told Gannett. “The tests are $50, sometimes more. Who’s going to pay for it? Imagine doing 1,000 tests a week. We’ve already lost $2 million up front in our budget because of budget cuts.”

The change this week from the state means that instead of all students and staff in orange zones getting tested before reopening – it will just require 20% of in-person students and staff. To make matters better, it can be done over the course of a month.

Red zone schools will be required to test 30% of students and staff over the same period. “The changes the governor has made to the zones strategy will make it easier for schools to reopen and stay open,” said Bob Lowry, deputy director of the state Council of School Superintendents to Gannett.

There are still questions about testing in smaller communities. For example, testing is required under certain criteria for a number of groups. One group cannot be tested at the expense of another. So some counties could have a difficult time keeping up with necessary demand to keep other groups tested, and schools open.