NYC teachers union calls for more COVID testing for staff and students

The town’s lecturers union known as on the mayor and his schooling company head to extend the frequency of COVID-19 exams for workers and college students, after tons of of courses had been shut down and a complete faculty closed following the primary week of courses.

In a letter despatched Sunday to Mayor Invoice de Blasio and Colleges Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, United Federation of Lecturers President Michael Mulgrew demanded that Metropolis Corridor substitute the present testing routine — whereby Massive Apple public faculty workers and college students are examined for the virus each different week — with a weekly take a look at.

“Whereas to this point our public faculties have efficiently reopened, I’m involved that this yr’s diminished frequency of COVID testing signifies that hundreds of kids will spend days in lecture rooms with out the early warning system that final yr made our faculties among the many most secure locations locally,” he wrote.

Mulgrew famous that through the first week of the 2021-2022 faculty yr, fewer than half of scholars and DOE workers at about 1,800 faculties and websites have obtained COVID-19 exams, and 663 lecture rooms have been absolutely or partially closed, in keeping with the Division of Training’s most up-to-date knowledge.

“However as a result of present testing is bi-weekly, tons of of different faculties won’t get a go to from a testing group till the approaching week,” he stated. “In the meantime, college students in untested faculties — together with kids underneath 12 who can’t be vaccinated — may very well be needlessly uncovered to the virus.”

Mulgrew is calling for Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter to test schools weekly for the virus instead of every other week.
Mulgrew is looking for Mayor Invoice de Blasio and Colleges Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter to check faculties weekly for the virus as an alternative of each different week.
Picture by EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Photographs

Images from the primary week of faculty documenting college students crammed in crowded hallways and cafeterias, in addition to an increase in pediatric coronavirus instances, bolster the union’s case that extra frequent testing for the virus is critical, Mulgrew wrote.

“If the town had an intensive and rigorous weekly testing protocol, it isn’t unreasonable to anticipate that the true variety of lecture rooms that might be absolutely or partially closed immediately due to COVID-19 infections may very well be 1,000 and even larger,” his letter continued. “We should do all we will to maintain our faculties open and our college students and workers secure. Weekly testing of scholars underneath age 12, together with these in District 75, have to be reinstated if we’re to satisfy that aim.”

In response, DOE spokesperson Danielle Filson stated, “Final week we efficiently and safely opened our faculties to all New York Metropolis college students for the primary time in 18 months.”

“We’ll proceed to base our well being and security protocols off the steerage of our medical specialists and in the very best curiosity of our college communities,” Filson added in an announcement.

The UFT’s ask comes after newly issued state Well being Division steerage requires solely unvaccinated lecturers to obtain a take a look at as soon as every week for COVID-19. De Blasio introduced on Aug. 23 that each one public faculty stuff are required to obtain no less than one dose of a vaccine by Sept. 27, although a Manhattan Supreme Court docket choose on Tuesday quickly blocked Metropolis Corridor’s standard mandate.

Students arriving for the first day of in-person class at PS 51 in Manhattan on September 13, 2021
College students arriving for the primary day of in-person class at PS 51 in Manhattan on September 13, 2021
Kevin C. Downs for The New York Publish

The mayor has repeatedly stated college students and fogeys won’t be supplied a distant studying choice for the brand new faculty yr.

On the technology-plagued first day of faculty final week, the schooling division reported 33 youngsters examined optimistic for the coronavirus Monday and that 80 lecture rooms had been closed. The DOE stated 50 staffers additionally had optimistic COVID exams.

De Blasio wouldn’t say what number of youngsters attended the primary day of courses in New York’s public faculties Monday, citing a 82.4 % attendance price primarily based on a preliminary rely, whereas he and the DOE wouldn’t publicly disclose the underlying statistics exhibiting how they arrived on the determine.

The Publish reported Sunday that an East Harlem faculty, the place 19 individuals examined optimistic as of Friday, turned the primary faculty that the DOE has quickly closed for 10 days because of the unfold of COVID-19.

Final yr, the town was not be capable of open its center and excessive faculties due to an absence of capability to check college students and workers weekly for COVID-19.

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