By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
City officials report that out a 1,751 COVID-19 tests administered to students and teachers since Friday, only one has come back positive for the virus.
As part of the city’s school reopening plan, officials pledged to randomly test between 10 and 20% of children and adults in school buildings every month as a means of mitigating the spread of the virus which they began last Friday. So far, students, teachers and other school staff at 56 schools have been tested for the virus.
“That’s really, really encouraging news when it comes to the testing in our schools,” de Blasio told reporters. “That’s a bright spot.”
Students and staff at schools in COVID cluster yellow zones will be tested for the virus every week, per state instructions. Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced lockdown measures in parts Queens, Brooklyn, Rockland and Orange County experiencing upticks in the virus.
Restrictions on schools, businesses and houses of worship in the affected areas depend on their location in a series of color-coded zones surrounding COVID cluster sites created by the state. Schools in red zones, where the virus positivity rate is above 3%, and the surrounding orange zones are closed with all students currently taking classes completely remotely. The status of those schools will be reevaluated next week while schools in yellow zones remain open.
The New York City Department of Education released a list last week of all schools located in the colored zones. Officials identified 169 school sites that would need to close due to their neighborhood COVID positivity rates. Out of that number 66 sites were in red zones and 87 were in orange. The DOE also identified 308 public school sites in cluster yellow zones which should expect to begin weekly testing on Friday, Oct. 16.
Parents must fill out a COVID testing consent form which can be found on the DOE website before their child can be tested for the virus on school grounds.