The Broome County Health Department is scrambling to prepare for the upcoming fall school semester and how the new school year will look in the on-going pandemic.

Broome County Public Health Director Rebecca Kauffman says part of that work over the past couple of months has involved plans for testing in the schools.

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The Broome County Legislature is scheduled to vote July 22 on accepting a five-million dollar grant from Health Research Incorporated for the county health department to conduct COVID-19 testing in schools this year.

Kauffman says the $5,296,911 can help districts keep track of possible cases among students, staff and faculty, especially in areas where residents may not have easy access to primary care physicians.

She says with fewer cases of the coronavirus being reported from a year ago, people may be inclined to wait out milder symptoms instead of going right out to get tested, especially if they live in areas where it’s harder to get to a doctor’s office.

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Kauffman says the Health Department is currently working out with the districts how they want do the testing whether it’s in the school nurse’s office or using Health Department staff to help do the swabs.

Kauffman says the goal is to make sure children can get back to school for in-person learning in the upcoming school year.

You can hear more from Rebecca Kaufmann about the county's continued response to the pandemic, concerns about the delta variant and more when she is our guest on the weekly, local public affairs program Southern Tier Close Up July 31 at 6:03 a.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF.

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