New York City public schools will no longer randomly test students for COVID-19, the Department of Education said Tuesday.
Guidance the DOE distributed to schools Tuesday morning said in-school PCR surveillance testing would “not be a part of the 2022-23 school year.”
“Starting the first day of school, schools will offer home test kits to those with a potential in-school exposure and those with symptoms,” the department said.
What You Need To Know
- The city's Department of Education is ending its in-school PCR surveillance testing program, according to guidance it released on Tuesday
- As part of the program, schools randomly tested 20% of their unvaccinated students on a weekly basis — but only if their parents signed consent forms opting them into the process
- The DOE will still require schools to report positive COVID-19 cases to its Situation Room, but those case counts will come from self-reported data, as schools will not be carrying out testing
“In addition, each staff [member] and student will receive four tests per month to take home,” it added. “These tests can be used by school families for testing due to symptoms, exposures, high-risk activity (such as travel and large gatherings) and can give staff and students immediate results.”
As part of the program, schools randomly tested 20% of their unvaccinated students on a weekly basis — but only if their parents signed consent forms opting them into the process.
A NY1 analysis conducted earlier this year found that many city schools were only testing a small percentage of their students for COVID-19 due to the program’s criteria.
This year, the DOE will still require schools to report positive COVID-19 cases to its Situation Room, which sends out a daily email with updates on cases and post them to its Daily COVID Case Map, according to Tuesday's guidance.
Those case counts, however, will come from self-reported data, as schools themselves will not be carrying out testing.
The department will also require students and staff members who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate for five days, then wear a mask for 10 days after the onset of their symptoms or date of positive test, its guidance says.
School visitors, DOE employees, anyone who works in a DOE building and students who are participating in “high-risk extracurricular activities including high-risk PSAL sports," meanwhile, will still need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, it adds.