By Jessica Easthope
Boxes of take-home rapid COVID-19 tests are the first and only assistance Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy has ever gotten from the city or state.
“It’s just our continued effort to slow the spread of COVID it’s just another preventative strategy to make sure our children are safe,” said principal Kelly Wolf.
Students took home the tests this week – parents say they opened their backpacks and found relief.
“It saves money, we’ve had to buy tests at CVS for ourselves and it’s not cheap and we’ve done a lot of testing over these years,” said Robert Dohn.
“Tests are expensive and they’re hard to find and if your child isn’t feeling well it’s hard to get to the store so it’s a great resource we now have the tool at home,” Lisa Scalfani said.
But not all parents say more testing is the answer. Jennifer Careri says she’s happy Catholic schools are finally being given what DOE students are – but thinks that it’s up to parents to be responsible.
“If my kids are sick or have a cold I’m quick to keep them home, bring them to the doctors, double check everything so I feel like bottom line if your kids are sick, keep them home,” she said.
A sentiment echoed by educators who are still working to keep cases under control –
“You know your children best and when the symptoms aren’t there they can return to school,” Wolf said.
During the course of the pandemic, for public schools, supplies have been at the ready. Meanwhile, Our Lady of Grace had to completely replace fundraising with PPE in the school budget and rely on private donations for wipes, sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Councilman Robert Holden fought to make a change.
“How can you offer tests to one population and not the other, you have to offer it to everyone if you want to stop the pandemic,” he said.
And now teachers say this is one more way to prevent students from falling behind.
“If you were out for a week or two weeks it was really hard to recover from that and that was constantly happening with the kids and now we have something where we can get them back as soon as possible,” said 8th grade teacher Michele Cirelli.
Diocese of Brooklyn students are able to use these to “test back in” when there’s an outbreak at school. Schools were given a supply from the state and city so they can restock as needed.