COVID-19 command center aims to prevent infections and closures in New York public schools: Adams

The Education Department has launched a COVID-19 command center to improve communication between school districts and principals to minimize infections and prevent school closures, the mayor said Monday morning. Eric Adams and Chancellor of Schools David Banks.

During an appearance in the Bronx, Adams said the command center would be in operation to combat the Omicron variant and keep schools open in accordance with the “Stay Safe and Open” policy introduced by former Mayor Bill de Blasio last year.

“We want to be very clear,” Adams said as he spoke at Concourse Village Elementary School in the Bronx on Monday. “The safest place for our children is in a school building. “

The command center is also working to enable all school staff to report issues related to the pandemic, including understaffing or issues with schools’ testing protocols.

“All indications are that we are in a pretty good position right now and we will be prepared to make any adjustments that are needed,” Banks said.

January 3 marked the start of new classroom regulations, including doubling testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated students, with teachers and professors also eligible and encouraged to test as well.

Mayor Adams also pointed out that he wants to impose testing at the school, but the approval must come from the federal government to be approved and that he is currently working with Governor Kathy Hochul to negotiate the change in testing protocol. .

Speaking at the American Sign Language and English Lower School in Manhattan, President Michael Mulgrew of the United Teachers’ Federation (UFT) expressed hesitation and concerns over the schools reopening after the holidays with record numbers of COVID-19 infections.

“At the moment there is no protocol for students who contract the virus and have parents or guardians who work full time, are immunocompromised or unable to care for their sick children,” Mulgrew said. at amNewYork Metro. “The city has to come up with a program for this and I have told the mayor and chancellor that these are situations where we need emergency measures.”

However, Adams reiterated that schools are safer places for children than homes, stating that “less than one percent of children are infected,” while “at home, over 15%,” although that it is not clear where he received these statistics.

Meanwhile, Lydia Howrilka, a union organizer of the United Federation of Teachers’ Solidarity, expressed concern over the decision to reopen schools after the winter break, calling it a “dangerous and unsustainable plan” in a statement. by e-mail.

“We have been telling the city for almost two years that school buildings are not safe,” Howrilka said. “The science behind this virus is constantly evolving and changing every day. Currently, schools are not safe for students and staff. We need to be completely away until we can have better access to testing or until the post-holiday COVID wave subsides. ”

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