Demand blamed for weekly testing hiccups in 600+ MA districts

BOSTON — The state’s testing provider is blaming unanticipated demand for the weekly testing hiccups happening at schools across Massachusetts.

Cambridge-based CIC Health, contracted by the state to provide testing at schools, told Boston 25 News more than 600 districts and more than 2,000 schools have signed up for testing. According to CIC, that’s nearly three times as many schools as were anticipated.

The weekly testing aims to identify and isolate positive cases at schools while allowing others to remain in the classroom.

Families in different districts across the state told Boston 25 News their kids are not being tested weekly and, in some cases, are not being tested at all. The issues include not having enough staff or swabs to perform the tests.

“Our kids are not vaccinated. They’re in danger of getting sick,” said Lauren Kohl of Newton.

Kohl said she’s not only concerned about her 6-year-old daughter and her classmates at Cabot Elementary in Newton.

“They’re still vectors. We will have to worry about our parents and other people who are immunosuppressed,” Kohl said. “We should not have this issue right now.”

Related: DESE reports 2,236 students with positive cases

Over at the state’s largest school district in Boston, the issue is impacting more than 18,000 students signed up for weekly testing.

“We are working with DESE and their testing provider CIC Health to address these issues. We are also reaching out to additional contractors to support the work. We are fully committed to the testing program as part of our core health and safety measures and will continue to communicate with CIC, our families, schools, and staff,” said a statement from a BPS spokesperson.

Other districts don’t expect to have weekly testing up and running for several weeks.

“At present, we are collecting consents from families and working with the state-sponsored provider to get systems in place. That said, neither has started. Both are set to begin in early October,” said Lynn Superintendent Patrick Tutwiler.

A CIC spokesperson told Boston 25 News it has helped schools across the commonwealth perform tens of thousands of pool tests this fall and is now working to ramp up programs.

“There has been a high volume of demand in an extremely short period of time,” read a statement from CIC. “As community members and parents ourselves, our top priority at CIC Health is the safety of the students, teachers and families we serve, and our team is working around the clock to scale up our testing programs.”

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