By Paul Burton

MIDDLEBORO (CBS) – Students are back to in person learning, but the challenges surrounding COVID-19 are still lingering. To alleviate some of the stress at the start of the school year, the state implemented a protocol called Test and Stay which allows unvaccinated students to stay in school if they are close contacts but asymptomatic. However, the students are required to take a COVID test every day in school.

But some school districts have yet to implement the program. Morgan Brinker is a mother of three kids in elementary, middle, and high school in the Hubbardston and Gardner school system. “It’s extremely frustrating and lack of transparency,” she said.

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Brinker says Test and Stay is not even set up yet. “Communications came out to us saying there was a delay in testing kits that were supposed to be sent out by DESE. And Quabbin sent a notice due to shortage of staff they would not be able implement pool or rapid testing to stay in school until middle of October possibly so our concern we started safety procedure would be in place and that’s not taking place,” Brinker said.

DESE Deputy Commissioner Russell Johnston says more than 2000 schools have applied to participate in the Test and Stay program and most have received their kits. “We need people to work with us because we didn’t know how much demand we would have and we are excited for this demand and we will get this right a little bit more time this will be up and running throughout the state,” Johnston said.

But for those struggling to get Test and Stay up and running it’s been a real challenge. Parents and students at Middleboro High School were not even aware of Test and Stay protocol but would like to see it implemented.

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“I think it’s pretty important. In other professions they are tested all the time as a matter of protocol, I think it’s important to get tested,” Middleboro parent Tom Hunt said.

Some parents say without Test & Stay protocol in place students who are told to quarantine are doing so without any remote option or resources and to go to school virtually which means they’re at risk of falling behind.

“It’s up to independent teachers to send packets home. There’s not a clear consistency. My fear of falling behind their peers,” Brinker said.

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Challenges students are facing across the state both inside and outside the classroom.

Paul Burton