Testing Is Important to Prevent COVID Spike After April Vacation, Health Experts Say

As April vacation ends in Massachusetts, health experts encourage testing for coronavirus for families who traveled

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April vacation for K-12 students in Massachusetts is wrapping up, and as many families took their first trip in over a year, some questions remain over who needs to be tested and when in an effort to prevent any post-break spike in COVID-19 cases.

"I think we'll see a rise in cases, yes, after April vacation," said Charlton parent Amanda Pelletier.



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"I think if people travel, we have to have a test to come back," said Millbury High School senior Emma Leary.

But Dr. Katherine Gergen Barnett with Boston Medical Center says Massachusetts' guidelines for testing after traveling are actually more lenient than the CDC's.

"Kids less than 10 do not need to be tested, people who are vaccinated do not need to be tested, those who have traveled less than 24 hours do not need to be tested," Gergen Barnett said.

"I know people feel a little more lax about it now," said Uxbridge teacher Kerry Bradshaw.

Bradshaw says schools can only do so much to make sure students who need to be are tested.

"Parents, they go away, either they don't tell us, or they definitely don't quarantine, so it does get kind of scary, so we just have to be more vigilant with it, for sure," said Bradshaw.

On the other hand, Tracey Sexton of Oxford says she only let her 11th-grade daughter travel to Florida with friends knowing she wouldn't go back to school right away.

"My daughter went away on vacation, she came back, I tested her and everything and she came back negative," Sexton said. "I told her she's staying in the home for two weeks, quarantining, and that's it, I'm strict on it."

Gergen Barnett encourages all families who traveled out of state to get their kids tested as a precaution, so schools can try to avoid a spike.

"I think when we are on vacation, we want to take a vacation from the pandemic," she said. "Unfortunately, the pandemic does not take a vacation from us."

There are a number of school districts holding testing events this week, or doing pooled testing next week, to try to catch any cases that may have been missed.

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