Jennifer Calderon says she’s already anxious about sending her three children back to school during the pandemic. So she says a new city policy allowing the Education Department to randomly test all students for cOVID-19 is unacceptable.
“You do not touch my kid without me there. That’s it. You do not,” Calderon said.
The DOE announced the policy last week as part of an agreement with the teachers union to reopen schools.
Under the deal, teachers and students will be subject to random COVID-19 testing beginning October 1. Some parents say they don’t object to the testing, but they do object to it being done in school when they’re not present.
“They’re terrified to get a physical from their pediatrician. How is it going to be to do this in school? It can’t happen,” Christina Guerrera, a parent of three, told NY1.
How many are tested depends on the size of the school. Results are expected within 48 hours. Parental consent is required, and children of parents who do not provide consent will have to learn remotely.
Flanked by parents, teachers and school professionals, several elected officials on Staten Island gathered to denounce the policy as “stupid” and “ill conceived.”
“There’s a number of options that would make it better,” City Councilman Joe Borelli said. “Some of it will make some people happy. Some of it will make no one happy. Some people will never be happy. But having parents present would make people happy. Allowing you to go to your own pediatrician would make people really happy.”
“You can’t go to the nurse at the school to get a Band-Aid or take your medicine,” Assemblyman Mike Reilly continued. “But you think you’re gonna stick a swab up their nose? Let’s get real. This plan is disastrous.”
Local leaders are urging parents to flood the Department of Education and City Hall with emails and phone calls about the policy.
The Education Department offered no new details about the testing, but defended the program, saying it must take aggressive safety measures to keep our students and staff safe.