COVID tests to decide if Yonkers classes will resume in-person after break

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YONKERS, Westchester County (WABC) -- Long lines formed at a COVID testing site in Yonkers as the results will be the deciding factor over whether the district's classes will resume in-person after winter break.

The line snaked down the block Thursday morning as dozens of parents brought one or more children in for COVID testing.

The overarching goal is to be able to reopen schools on Monday as scheduled.

"It's really great because it's hard to get tested, they've been tested before, but it's hard to go someplace and get testing and the fact that it's here makes it easier and it's free so that's really good," parent Trevor Johnson said.

Yonkers is conducting tests at three locations across the city. The data will give the district a sense of how widespread the omicron outbreak is.



So far the numbers are troubling. Of 800 tests conducted Wednesday, the positivity rate was 25%.

"Right now we are opening our schools on January 3, if anything changes based on the data, based on the positivity rate, then we will make a decision by tomorrow afternoon," Yonkers schools Superintendent Edwin Quezada said.

"We want out kids in the classroom setting, we want them learning and at the same time we have to do so in a safe manner that protects them, that protects our teachers and all involved," Yonkers mayor Mike Spano said.

In Westchester, the urban centers are seeing the biggest spike. Yonkers and Mount Vernon make up 30% of the population but account for well over 50% of current COVID cases.

The superintendent did not say what the positivity rate would have to be for schools to close.

Testing will be conducted again on Sunday at which point 25,000 home testing kits will be distributed to parents.

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