Township Schools Get First Batch Of Rapid Testing Kits In County

Three rapid testing machines and a dozen boxes of testing materials were delivered August 26 to the school district at the Elizabeth Avenue School.

Three coronavirus rapid testing machines were delivered to the township school district during a short gathering at Elizabeth Avenue School on August 26.

The machines can render results in about 20 minutes.

Franklin is one of only four districts in Somerset County that took advantage of an offer from the Somerset County Department of Health for the machines, at no cost.

The machines will be housed at Elizabeth Avenue School, Franklin Middle School – Hamilton Street Campus and either Claremont or Franklin Park elementary school, schools Superintendent John Ravally said.

“Then we’ll have the district covered regionally,” he said.

Students who show symptoms of the coronavirus will be isolated while their parents are called to pick them up. The parents will then be given the opportunity to have their child tested with the rapid test.

Testing will be conducted outdoors, with the student in the car. A swab will be taken and then walked back to the school for processing in the machine.

Dr. Brenda Sofield, who is in charge of the district’s health matters, said it was thought it would be better of the students were not brought into the school.

Among those at the Elizabeth Avenue School gathering were district representatives, as well as Somerset County Commissioners Shanel Robinson, Sara Sooy and Doug Singletary, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detective John Fodor, who is also in charge of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, and members of his team, and Mayor Phil Kramer.

Fodor said other schools in Franklin, including Rutgers Prep and Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School, will also receive the rapid testing machines.

“I think its wonderful,” Fodor said. “Franklin’s always been a good partner for the county. They’re very progressive, they wanted it for the students, we wanted it for the students … this is going to be helping us identify any potential issues that could be coming up.”

Fodor said he did not know why only four Somerset County districts took the County up on its offer to provide the machines.

Schools Superintendent John Ravally agreed.

“We thought it would be a benefit,” he said. “Why would you not do that if you could?”

“I think it’s a great idea,” said John Haney, Elizabeth Avenue’s principal. “It will allow us to get quick results and allow us to communicate with parents and prevent outbreaks.”

Board of Education president Nancy LaCorte said she was very excited about the machines.

“It’s a wonderful partnership we have with the county,” she said. LaCorte said the machines will “help us to keep our students safer and hopefully more at ease.”

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