WEST SPRINGFIELD, MASS. (WWLP) – State education officials plan to use a new COVID testing protocol that aims to keep students and staff in classrooms, even if they might have been exposed to the virus.

Close contacts will get rapid tests in school. The idea is that this will prevent having to quarantine and miss school. The protocol is called “test and stay.” Asymptomatic individuals who have had close contact with a confirmed infection will take a rapid test every day for at least five days while remaining in schools.

The Department of Education said the rapid tests will have to be certain brands approved by the state. Some parents told 22News testing is an added tool but they want to see masks mandated instead.

Jillian Flood of Chicopee said, “We didn’t really be a part of it. There was nobody in his area that had it he’s only in second grade. I still believe the masks do it. Honestly, he’s been more healthy with the mask on than he has ever from school.”

The test and stay protocol would be implemented in districts already participating in pool testing. Parents will need to give permission to have their child tested. The Department of Education is expected to release further information about this and other pandemic-related guidance in the coming weeks before the start of school.

22News reached out to a number of school districts regarding their plans for this protocol but we have not heard back.