New COVID guidelines for New York City public schools go into effect next week, which are expected to reduce how many students are quarantined.
These new rules also call for weekly testing coupled with masking and social distancing to keep kids in the classroom.
The quarantine policy has been called into question by City Councilman Mark Treyger, who said the move was “more political” than focused on public health.
Treyger, who also chairs the education committee, pointed out just three weeks ago, the health commissioner testified during his hearing, defending their previous quarantine policy, calling it “the gold standard.”
Now the city’s new COVID guideline for school quarantines is more in line with CDC guidelines, but what changed?
Treyger said the recent number of quarantines and positive cases reported in schools “didn’t look good for the mayor.”
In the first week of school, Department of Education data reported more than 370 classrooms were forced to close due to COVID cases.
As of Friday evening, there was an 812 cumulative total of positive cases, consisting of 325 staff members and 487 students, data showed.
According to the committee chair, some health officials were not on board with the change, adding that “not everyone was on the same page.”
Under the new policy, only students in close proximity with those who test positive would need to quarantine.
However, Treyger said not many classrooms can safely physically distance themselves.
“This is a step backward,” he said.
Children also cannot get tested without consent forms, and many students have not returned them, implying the same students are getting tested over and over again.
“I believe we should require testing across the board” and return a remote option if families don’t feel comfortable, according to Treyger.