NYC schools begin increased COVID-19 testing to prevent spike in infections after winter break

Just as COVID-19 infections in New York City public schools have been reduced by 95%after the high wave of positivity that was registered last January when there came to be 14,000 daily cases reported, This Monday another change began to be implemented in the protocols for the fight against the coronavirus in the more than 1,700 schools in the Big Apple: the realization of more tests.

This was confirmed by City Department of Education (DOE)after announcing the entry into force of several additional security measures, including the increase in weekly random tests against COVID for the top 10% of students enrolled grades 1 to 12up to a limit of 250 students, or 20% of the unvaccinated student population of each school, depending on which population is greater.

The DOE stressed that the change will allow schools with highly vaccinated student populations to test a larger group of students each week. Additionally, it was reaffirmed that 10% of school staff will continue to be tested for COVID on a weekly basis.

The use of masks is maintained

Also, it was noted that all the students and staff must continue to wear masks, including those who are vaccinated.

The DOE assured that the goal of his new move is to anticipate winter break, in two weeks, when students and school staff are more likely to be in the midst of less stringent security measures, and thus prevent their return to school from being there is a spike in infections.

Testing is an essential part. to keep schools open and protect the health of our students, staff, and neighbors. Thank you to those families who have already consented to testing for your support and partnership in keeping our school communities safe!” the DOE in a document shared with parents.

After revealing that on the last day the positive cases found in New York schools barely reached 237, (202 students and 35 school staff members)the Department of Education insisted that the increased testing is in addition to its plan to make public schools in New York remain safe places, so they can stay open.

“Due to our extensive health and safety measures, cases of COVID-19 in our schools have decreased by 95% and the positivity rate in schools remains significantly lower than the citywide rate.” Nathaniel Steyer, Department of Education spokesperson. “Expanding testing in schools and rapid testing at home will ensure all students are ready to safely attend in-person classes after winter break.”

The official explained that before the winter break, the DOE will deliver to 3K and Pre-K students, COVID home test kitsincreasing the rapid testing initiative for students from Kindergarten to grade 12. That is, all public school students, regardless of their grade or age, will go into winter break with rapid test kits.

Home tests will be given to families during the week of February 14and the call of the school authorities is that the children take the tests before return to school on February 28.

“Students who test positive or fail the daily health screening will continue to have access to asynchronous instruction,” the DOE spokesperson added. “Due to improving pandemic conditions and increased testing levels, all other students who are not sick or quarantined will only be marked present when attending in-person instruction. This change came effective Wednesday, February 2”.

Parents support new measures

After learning about the changes in the increase in tests, parents from the Big Apple such as John Casallaswho has her 14-year-old son studying at a Long Island City school, supported the preventive measure of the schools to put the foot to COVID.

“The truth is that I have not been afraid for many months that the schools are going to make my son sick, because I feel that they have done a great job to keep them safe, and I believe that the fact of increasing the tests against COVID and the plan to send children to recess with home tests, as parents, gives us much more peace of mind, knowing that we can better track the coronavirus, ”said the Peruvian father, who nevertheless called for the vaccination of all the children.

“I think that, however, the safest thing of all is the vaccine and that is why, as a father who has already gone through that stage of fear and doubt, I tell other fathers who have doubted, to vaccinate their children and vaccinate themselves. Well, that gives a level of tranquility that one cannot imagine,” added the father.

Elizabeth Adames, mother of a little fifth grader, also shared that position and although she assured that more tests in schools give a breathing space to guarantee that cases remain low, she insisted that only the vaccine gives total safety.

“We have to get vaccinated, because it is useless for schools to do their best if we don’t get all children vaccinated. That is for your own protection against COVID, so that it does not hit them so hard and we do not have cases to regret, ”said the Dominican mother. “We also have to set the example of vaccinating ourselves as adults, not only thinking of ourselves but in protecting other families.”

Since the 2021-2022 school year began last September, according to data provided by the Department of Education, a total of 171,925 COVID infections have been reported in schools, of which 132,623 occurred among students and 39,302 among teachers and other members of school staff.

COVID-19 in NY schools in numbers:

  • 95% drop in COVID cases in schools in February.
  • 14,000 infections were reported in a single day on January 10.
  • 237 cases were reported on February 6.
  • 202 students tested positive for COVID on the last day.
  • 35 teachers and school staff members tested positive for COVID on the last day.
  • 171,925 total infections have been reported since the school year began in September.
  • 132,623 of those infections have been between students.
  • 39,302 infections have occurred among school personnel.
  • 20% have increased class attendance rates.
  • 0 classrooms have been closed in the last day due to COVID.
  • 4,931 classrooms have been closed at some point since the start of the school year.
  • 20,665 have been quarantined in total since the school year began.
  • 17 schools have been closed at some point since the start of the school year.
  • 0 schools have been closed in the last day.
  • New COVID testing protocols in NYC schools ahead of winter break

    • February 7 began plan to increase COVID-19 testing at all campuses.
    • February 21 to 25 will be the winter break in schools.
    • February 28 is back to school day.
    • 10% of the school’s enrolled students in grades 1-12 capped at 250.
    • 20% of the unvaccinated student population of each school, depending on the largest population.
    • The new rule will allow schools with highly vaccinated student populations to test a larger group of students each week.
    • 10% of school staff will continue to be tested weekly.
    • Home Test Kits will be handed out to students and staff prior to winter break.
    • During the week of February 14, schools will distribute these kits to all staff and students ages two and up.
    • The recommendation is that they take the rapid home test before returning to school on February 28, regardless of their vaccination status.
    • Staff and students are not required to show proof of a negative test result before being allowed to return to school.
    • If your child tests positive on a home test, your child must self-isolate for 5 days if in grades K-12.
    • 10 days if you are in a LYFE, EarlyLearn (infants and toddlers), 3K, or Pre-K classroom.