On Sept. 20, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would move to weekly in-school COVID testing at all elementary, middle and high schools. He also announced that unvaccinated students who are close contacts to a positive student will not have to quarantine as long as they are masked and keep three feet of distance.
In response, UFT President Michael Mulgrew issued the following statement:
We’re glad the city has agreed that weekly COVID testing for all schools is the best strategy. But we strongly disagree with the mayor’s plan to limit the quarantine process only to some children rather than an entire classroom.
While the CDC guidelines allow an exception to quarantine for some students who have been exposed to the virus, the exception specifically applies to children who have maintained social distance and consistently worn well-fitting masks.
Maybe in the mayor’s universe all children keep their distance, wear their masks correctly and leave them on all day, but in the real world of our schools, this just isn’t so, particularly in the many schools that are overcrowded.
Children — particularly the youngest who are most vulnerable to the Delta variant — need more protection than the Mayor is offering with this recent, ill-considered decision.