With the increase of COVID-19 cases at the beginning of the calendar year, certain school districts, including Albany, resorted to remote learning to help slow the spread.

New York City Public Schools Prepare To Start New School Year With In Person Classes
Schools across New York prepared for a 2021-22 year spent in-person / Getty Images
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Now, with cases slowly beginning to decrease, the Albany School System is returning students to the classroom, but this time, with a catch. They're calling it the "test-to-stay" system, and it's being implemented across the district.

So, what is this "test-to-stay" system, and is it actually helping the students avoid the dreaded remote learning scenario?

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The aptly-named system in question allows students who are determined to be at-risk for testing positive to exit the classroom, take a rapid antigen test and, if negative, return to their classroom and their everyday school activites. In a story filed by ABC News 10, Guilderland Central School District superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles stated that 181 students took part in this testing process over a two-week span, all of whom were allowed to stay at school.

They would've had to leave school and quarantine for two weeks, had they not.

Attendance At New York City Public Schools Drops During Current Covid Spike
Most New York students and staff were wearing masks this year / Getty Images
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Now, there are some drawbacks. This testing system is district-specific, with only certain districts across the region and state taking part so far. Certain after-school activities are supervised at a state level, meaning that certain kids who don't have to "quarantine" during school hours, are still required to "quarantine" away from these activities.

That being said, I have to say, this new testing system is fantastic, and I'm so happy that it's been implemented in multiple districts across the Capital Region. I wrote about this last week, but spending six months as a long-term substitute teacher during hybrid learning taught me a great deal about the damage that long-term remote learning can have on kids and their social development.

Protesters Call On Gov. Cuomo To Reopen New York State From Coronavirus Lockdown
Calls to "Open Upstate" have gone on throughout the pandemic / Getty Images
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Creating an option that allows more students to stay in the classroom will only help them in the long-run, and help entire grades of students return to an academic and social norm that every kid should get to experience during their young lives.

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