NEW YORK CITY — At least 14,000 New York City students and school staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of winter break, according to city Department of Education data obtained by PIX11 News on Tuesday.
The figure includes about 4,000 new cases reported in the last two days. That breaks down to about 1,000 new cases per day from when students started winter break on Dec. 23 through Monday, when they returned to school buildings.
A DOE spokesperson told PIX11 News the figure represents every case that was called in by principals during the 11-day winter break.
“The daily number is comparable to our pre-break daily average. Moving forward our website will be updated to ensure the public has a clear view of the health and safety of our schools,” the spokesperson added.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers union, said the biggest obstacle for schools right now is staffing.
“We could use about 3,000 more substitutes,” he said.
Despite the case numbers, Mayor Eric Adams said on Tuesday no new school closures were reported citywide as he promoted the DOE’s new test-to-stay policy. As part of the program’s rollout, the city distributed 1.6 million rapid at-home COVID tests to schools.
The city also reached out to retired teachers, asking them to come back to work to fill gaps made by sick calls and school staff absences.