Sept. 21, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The city will require weekly COVID-19 testing of students and staff at public schools beginning next week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
The Department of Education will increase testing from biweekly to weekly at all public schools beginning Sept. 27.
As such, 10 percent of unvaccinated students will be randomly tested each week at every school. Parents must give consent in order for their child to be tested.
De Blasio announced the testing increase a day after facing calls from the United Federation of Teachers to start testing each week.
“We will now go to weekly testing,” the mayor said during a morning press briefing. “We’ll be testing in elementary, middle, and high school, each school, every week.”
At the same time the weekly testing requirement goes into effect, less strict quarantine rules for unvaccinated students will become the new standard, de Blasio said.
Unvaccinated students will no longer have to quarantine when there is a positive COVID test in their classroom—as long as they have been following the mandatory mask-wearing guidelines and three-feet social distancing rules, beginning Sept. 27.
The change follows guidance from the CDC, and officials say it will prevent frequent interruptions to students’ learning. It “will allow more kids to safely remain in the classroom,” de Blasio said.
Queens public schools have a COVID-19 positivity rate of just .28 percent or 21 positive cases among nearly 7,400 tests of both students and staff, according to DOE data.