New York City Schools to Test Each Student for Coronavirus Amid Surge in Cases

© TOBY MELVILLEFILE PHOTO: Students take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests at Harris Academy Beckenham, in London
FILE PHOTO: Students take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests at Harris Academy Beckenham, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.12.2021
NEW YORK (Sputnik) - The New York City authorities are distributing some 2 million coronavirus test kits mostly to schools in a bid to keep in class what they term are "asymptomatic children" amid an increase in pediatric hospitalizations, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday.
"Your children are safer in school and the numbers speak for themselves,” de Blasio told a live streamed event where he appeared with Mayor-Elect Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul as they attempted to convince parents to keep their children in school so long as they are not sick.
New York City has recently seen a nearly five-fold increase in pediatric hospitalizations as the coronavirus Omicron variant infects more children, according to New York State health officials.
Under the new plan, the city’s ramped-up testing program will allow children asymptomatic to COVID-19 to remain in class and only keep at home those who test positive for the coronavirus.
Previously, entire classrooms of students were quarantined to study from home once one or more were found to have contracted the virus. Now, those same students will receive a rapid at-home test and return to class if they test negative. For additional protection, a second test will be conducted within seven days of the first.
“We cannot go back to isolation, remote learning and keeping our children from everything,” City University of New York Health and Wellness Director Fabian Wander, who joined de Blasio on the call, said. “The impact isolation has on young people's emotional wellness is something we've only just started to grapple with.  This isn't healthy.”
New York City’s public school system is the largest of its kind in the United States with some 1.1 million students.
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