For Union-Endicott School Superintendent Nicole Wolfe, the challenge of testing teachers and students has always been about planning and communication.

Broome County has been under a yellow zone designation due to rising COVID-19 cases and for Wolfe, that has meant COVID-19 tests for at least 400 people a week.  

"Our families want schools to be open for a variety of different reasons," she said. "Our students need to be school, we feel like that's the best education we can provide and our parents work and they need a place for their children to be." 

The challenges facing schools during the pandemic now can include testing -- lots and lots of COVID-19 testing in a bid to stamp out a fast-rising number of cases. 

School officials have gotten help from local public health departments. Wolfe's school district has worked closely with Broome County to expand testing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced the rising positive cases in parts of Erie, Monroe, and Onondaga counties will lead to limits on capacity in restaurants and increased testing for schools. New York Schools Boards Association General Counsel Jay Worona says some districts may have no choice but to close if they can't get the tests.   

"Districts have been advised in a number of counties that the local health departments are not able to do that testing," Worona said. "Not because they're not willing, but because their attention has to be focused on testing the general population. So in that situation districts may have the unenviable choice that has to be made, which is to stay closed."

The state teachers union, meanwhile, has developed its own COVID-19 tracking website. President Andy Pallotta says it's to call attention to rising cases.

"What we want to do is have corrective action," Pallotta said. "That's the main goal of the COVID tracker is to make sure things get fixed. It's not just to make it public, it's so we can work on it."