NYC teachers union calls for weekly covid testing for some students as first school closes with at least 16 positive staff cases
New York City’s teachers union called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to ramp up the frequency of random coronavirus testing in schools for students under 12, just one day after the city’s first school closure of the year due to widespread virus transmission among staff.
The city should test 10% of students under age 12 every week rather than every other week, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a letter to the mayor. Students under 12 years old are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
Mulgrew said the union is not calling for more testing of students ages 12 and above because they are eligible for vaccination and the union is satisfied with vaccination rates among those students so far. (Nearly 70% of New Yorkers ages 12-17 have received a vaccine dose, de Blasio said Friday, though it’s likely some schools fall substantially below those rates.)
“The [United Federation of Teachers] made it clear over the summer that biweekly testing was insufficient given the delta variant and the strong possibility that many schools would struggle to meet the three-foot social distancing guidelines,” Mulgrew wrote. “The first week of school, including photos of students packed into crowded hallways and cafeterias, only strengthens the argument for more testing.”
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