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Nearly 1,400 Classrooms Closed and 1,700 Went to Partial Quarantine Under COVID -19 Precautions Since NYC School Began

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NEW YORK, NY — Nearly 1,400 classrooms closed and 1,700 went into partial quarantine under COVID-19 precautions in the month since New York City public schools fully reopened.

The closures hit only a fraction of classrooms in the city’s 1,100 schools, according to Department of Education data.

Indeed, more than 150,000 coronavirus tests in schools this year yielded just 310 cases among students and staff, data shows.

But a City Council hearing and a new report by Chalkbeat this week raised concerns among some officials that the school system’s testing program isn’t reaching enough students.

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The Chalkbeat headline says it all: “Just 35% of eligible NYC students have consented to coronavirus testing so far.”aid

Students and parents must fill out consent forms for random coronavirus tests under Department of Education rules.

But 192,705 students submitted forms out of roughly 550,000 who are eligible to be tested, according to Department of Education numbers.

Schools officials considered last year’s consent forms, which expired Sept. 30, a buffer as they sought a renewed batch this fall. Staff are currently pushing parents to send in their forms.

“Our level of testing is working and with 100% of in-person staff vaccinated, our schools are among some of the safest places to be in the city,” Nathaniel Steyer, a DOE spokesperson, said in a statement. “We are diligently collecting consent forms, collecting over 20,000 in the past week, and encourage every parent of an unvaccinated student to submit consent forms and help continue to keep our schools safe and open.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio and school officials have frequently cited a “gold standard” of coronavirus safety measures. But safety discussions lately shifted toward staff vaccinations.

A strict coronavirus vaccine mandate went into effect this week for staff, which effectively makes all teachers, principals and other workers in school buildings 100 percent vaccinated.

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