NYC Schools Increase Testing for January 3rd Return
The numbers have increased, with NYC cases amongst children at some of the highest. And, of course, many parents are concerned about the safety of our kids as they return to school on January 3rd after the long winter break.
On Tuesday (12/29), Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mayor-Elect Eric Adams, Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter, and Incoming Schools Chancellor David Banks jointly announced today that they have a plan. The plan is for kids to return after the winter break with increased measures regarding COVID and the recent outbreak variant of Omicron and school safety. The Mayor shared the immediate action that will take place as kids return to school. First, let’s get to the critical takeaways:
- Double PCR testing in schools will take place
- Testing will include both vaccinated and unvaccinated students, including teacher and staff
- Will do a push to get more consent forms from parents for kids to be tested at school
To make the case of keeping kids in school, Governor Hochul hopped on to share that her team, along with the Mayor and Mayor-elect, are working around the clock to make New York safe by working on getting more testing sites up. The Governor has also asked Homeland Security to send two million testing kits to the school district for students and teachers.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter and Mayor-Elect Eric Adams stressed that they are all on the same team (without exactly saying it but you got the point) and brought in the experts to double down on the message that in-person schooling is vital.
The University of Edinburg (yes, the Mayor and team brought in some of the top researchers), Dr. Devi Sridhar, stressed the many advantages of kids learning in person. Dr. Sridhar also shared, “school is not just about literacy and numeracy; it is about mental health, it is about social and emotional development, it is about being able to have a routine and structure to your day.”
What about the cases? As New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi stressed, the percentage of vaccinated students testing positive when in close contact is relatively low; however, Dr. Choski noted, “Meanwhile, the out-of-school close contact spreading in the city is nearly 14%.”
So the plan is school will be back on January 3rd; stressed the most at the conference is that kids, if eligible, need to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, the city will continue its efforts to keep schools safe. “The safety of our students, staff members, and communities is our top priority,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter.
Psst…check out COVID-19 Omicron Update: a Guide for NYC Parents