New York City public schools keep some COVID protocols ahead of new school year

The DOE will no longer randomly test students for COVID-19 when the new school year begins

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
NYC public schools keep some COVID protocols ahead of new school year
NYC public schools announced guidelines and that they will no longer randomly test students for COVID-19 when the school year begins.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The CDC loosened its COVID guidelines, so students and teachers across the country will see some changes as they head back to school this year. And in New York City, schools will follow along with the exception of a few policies.

The New York City Department of Education will no longer randomly test students for COVID-19 when the new school year begins on September 8.

Instead, test kits will be sent home for students, parents, and teachers to use in the event they are exposed to the virus.

The department outlined its COVID-19 protocols Tuesday.

Students will no longer be required to submit a daily health screening form.

Masks are not required but are strongly recommended if and when there's exposure. And students and staff must wear masks when returning to school on the sixth through the 10th day after showing symptoms or testing positive.

Masks are also required when entering a medical office in a school or exhibiting coronavirus symptoms.

Many of the other COVID-19 protocols will remain in place.

Vaccination will still be required for all adults entering public school buildings. That means teachers will still have to be vaccinated, along with all contracted employees.

Any other adult that enters a building must show proof of at least one dose of vaccination.

Students will still not need to be vaccinated to attend classes, but will once again need to show proof of vaccination to participate in extracurricular activities, including high-risk PSAL sports.

Dr. Sallie Permar is a pediatrician from Weill Cornell and is unaffiliated with the city. She agrees with the changes of targeted testing over random testing.

She added that the two measures the city has dropped were the least valuable against COVID.

"We don't have a record showing that they were effective in preventing disease or preventing spread," Dr. Permar said. "And so if it's not something that highly valuable, we shouldn't spend extra effort or time on it."

However, not everyone agrees with the decision to drop the random testing.

"I think it's a bit irresponsible to do away with the random testing because there are kids that are gonna play, they're gonna interact with one another," Darell Hunt said, whose 4-year-old is heading into Pre-K. "I am for science and information so I think it's a bit reckless to do away with some of the random testing."

A spokesperson with the teachers' union released the following statement:

"As COVID changes as a disease, our responses also have to evolve," it read. "While the distribution of at-home tests has been reduced, the DOE has assured us that additional at-home tests will be available for any schools that need them. We also urge parents to make sure that they and all eligible children receive vaccines and boosters."

Click here for more on the DOE's Fall 2022 COVID-19 guidance.

RELATED | New Jersey ends COVID-19 testing requirement for unvaccinated school, day care workers

New Jersey has lifted the requirement that unvaccinated workers in school districts and child care settings undergo routine COVID-19 testing. Darla Miles has the story.


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