Union City BOE begins distributing 15,000 rapid tests to students ahead of return to classrooms

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The Union City Board of Education has begun distributing 15,000 rapid tests to students ahead of a return to classrooms on Tuesday, enough for every student in the district.

From left to right: Union City Board of Education Director of Facilities Justin Mercado, Superintendent of Schools Sylvia Abbato, and Business Administrator Anthony Dragona. Photo courtesy of the Union City BOE.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The district, which has been remote for the past two weeks, is asking parents to test their children between today and Monday and keep them home if they test positive.

Kits will be distributed at each school – or delivered at homes – through Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday and while encouraged, are not required to return to the classroom.

“We continue to be proactive in protecting the health of our students and all school employees, as well as the entire community,” Superintendent of Schools Sylvia Abbato said in a statement.

“We still recommend that everyone receive a vaccination and a booster shot. Testing our students and staff prior to reopening adds an additional layer of protection for everyone.”

She thanked Mayor Brian Stack, Business Administrator Anthony Dragona, and Board Secretary/Facilities Director Justin Mercado for collaborating to obtain the testing kits.

“We’re proud of the symbiotic relationship between the city and the school district that enhances the quality of life for Union City residents. My thanks to Superintendent Abbato and her staff for continuously striving to keep our children safe,” added Stack.

To help parents and guardians ensure that the tests are performed correctly, the school district has posted instructional videos in both English and Spanish on their website and corresponding social media, as has the City of Union City.

The tests are manufactured by Access Bio, a leading healthcare company that works with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the fight against COVID-19, malaria, and other diseases.

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