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DeSantis says routine testing for schools unfeasible

Should students and teachers get tested regularly as schools reopen? Schools are planning to reopen in a matter of weeks. Many parents are trying to make the hard decision about whether to send their child to in-person school or not.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he’d consider state funded testing sites just for educators, bus drivers and school staff. But he said it would come with issues.

DeSantis made it clear Friday he has some concerns with COVID-19 testing — from the delay in receiving results to false positives.

When it comes to testing all students and school staff routinely, the governor says that just would not work.

It will already be an unprecedented back-to-school season this year, but could testing become the norm?

DeSantis says he does not think that is necessary.

“I’m definitely not one that thinks every student has to be tested every week or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just, one, I think just functionally, it wouldn’t work.”

Given the number of students in Southwest Florida school districts, Karen West, a middle school language arts teacher, told us she agrees.

“It may make people more comfortable, but I don’t think it’s realistic right now,” West said. “It’s too many students.”

Some students and parents said they know testing students and school staff is inconvenient, but they think it could be the safest way to go.

“Although it’s not like convenient, I think it helps the safety,” said Joseph Bagby, an Estero High School Junior. “Because we would be getting checked like weekly or biweekly or whatever, so it just makes sure everyone is checked and safe, so I think that would be a positive, and I am 100% down for that.”

“If you have options for the testing, that would be great,” said Deyanir Helt, the parent of a Lee County student. “Same thing with learning options, testing options.”

But, with or without regular testing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the safety of children and teachers must come first when considering how to reopen schools.

“Separate the desks by a certain amount, wearing masks,” Fauci said. “Always thinking we’re going to do whatever we can to get the schools open and the children back to school, but always remember that safety and the health of the children and the teachers comes first.”

DeSantis says, if a student or staff member develops symptoms, they will have to isolate and get tested immediately. He says that is the most effective way to go about testing as schools reopen.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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