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Test-and-stay program coming to Mass. child care centers

Early education providers and many parents have been pushing for such a program.

Shakurah Hairston administers a PCR test to her son Ezekiel Hairston, 3, at the private Epiphany Early Learning Center in Dorchester Lane Turner / The Boston Globe


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts will offer a version of its school coronavirus “test-and-stay” program for child care centers in the upcoming weeks to help keep preschool children in classrooms and allow parents to work.

“We know that our families are relying on child care to go to work,” Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, commissioner of the state Department of Early Education and Care, told The Boston Globe. “So we do want to provide alternatives to pulling children out of care for quarantine, but making sure we do so safely.”

Early education providers and many parents have been pushing for such a program, which allows students and staff exposed to COVID-19 at school the chance to remain in class, rather than staying home for five to seven days, as long as they test negative daily.

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State education leaders say the program has helped keep school children in class.

Early education leaders are working with the state Department of Public Health on protocols for the program that will look different from the program used in schools. Aigner-Treworgy said families may be asked to swab their own children and wait 15 minutes for the results during morning drop-offs.

State officials are working out how to pay for the program.

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