State Watch

New York state providing COVID tests, masks to schools

New York state will provide COVID-19 tests and masks in school districts amid a recent spike in cases over the summer, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Tuesday.

The announcement also comes after the recent discovery of the BA.2.86 subvariant in New York City’s sewage, according to city officials.

Hochul’s office Wednesday said the state will conduct outreach to the Education Department and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to determine each district’s needs for the test kits and masks, including both N95 and KN95 masks.

“Thanks to the hard work of New York schools, teachers, and parents, we have come a long way to ensure students can safely return to the classroom,” Hochul wrote in a statement. “Frequent testing for COVID-19 is an important part of keeping our kids safe and preventing an outbreak, and I will continue to ensure our school districts have the resources they need to provide a safe, in-person learning environment for our students.” 

She urged school districts to review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current school guidance for COVID-19 prevention. 

Detected first in July, the BA.2.86 COVID-19 subvariant has been reported in a handful of cases in the U.S., Denmark, South Africa, the U.K. and Israel.

A risk assessment from the CDC published last month found the subvariant may be more capable of causing infections in people who previously contracted the virus or who have been vaccinated. 

Tags Coronavirus COVID testing COVID-19 Kathy Hochul Masks New York New York City schools