NYC mayor open to school COVID testing consent change, remote option

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, January 13, 2022
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Stacey Sager has more on the proposed change in New York City schools.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams is open to changing the process by which parents give consent for in-school coronavirus testing.

Currently, parents must give permission for their children to be tested for COVID-19. The proposed change would instead require them to opt out, possibly significantly increasing the testing pool.

Comptroller Brad Lander said there was a positive response to the idea on a call with the mayor and other city officials Wednesday.

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A spokesperson from the mayor's office said they are looking into the proposal.

"The mayor's office is thoroughly reviewing this proposal for any relevant issues - legal and otherwise - and their potential impact on our students and families," a statement read.

School officials say only roughly a third of students have submitted consent forms, which they call a hinderance to widespread testing.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew held a town hall Wednesday evening with roughly 15,000 union members and spoke about the need for a remote option with nearly 200,000 students out of the classroom due to positive COVID tests.

"I'm willing to sit down and entertain with the UFT if there is a way to do a temporary remote option," Adams said. "If we can do it, and it is a quality option, but my goal, I want children in school."

The Department of Education said Mulgrew has been discussing a remote option since September, but a UFT spokesperson said the recent absentee rates are making it a greater concern.

Mulgrew believes the mayor is going to have to figure out an option for the kids who are currently not coming to school, with the spokesperson saying too many children could face disenfranchising without education for weeks now.

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