NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew urged New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to restore weekly COVID-19 testing in schools.
In a letter addressed to de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter and First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan Sunday Mulgrew expressed concern that current testing procedures are potentially leaving students and staff exposed.
"I am concerned that this year's reduced frequency of COVID testing means that thousands of children will spend days in classrooms without the early warning system that last year made our schools among the safest places in the community," Mulgrew said.
Under the guidelines released by the York City Department of Education for this school year, testing was reduced from last year's 20% of the school population weekly to 10% twice a month.
Mulgrew said Department of Education data shows that fewer than half of the city's more than 1,800 schools and sites were tested in the first week of class.
Meanwhile, more than 650 classrooms were either fully or partially closed due to COVID and one entire school, PS 79 in East Harlem, went to fully remote learning after nearly two dozen COVID-19 cases were reported.
"If the city had a thorough and rigorous weekly testing protocol, it is not unreasonable to expect that the real number of classrooms that would be fully or partially closed today because of COVID-19 infections could be 1,000 or even higher," Mulgrew said.
The mayor has insisted that the city's protocols would ensure a safe reopening.
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