NYC In-School COVID Testing Updates

4-9-21

We have 2 updates on NYC’s in-school COVID testing program and our legal challenge to it:

(1) Lawsuit Update, Bueno vs. NYC DOE

(2) NYC DOE COVID testing policy update

(1) TEACHERS FOR CHOICE is sponsoring the lawsuit Bueno vs. NYC DOE on behalf of two DOE employees who were placed on unpaid leave for refusing COVID testing in their school buildings. Both agreed to get tested with their own doctors and submit the results, but the NYC DOE refused to accept that. Learn more details about the case here.

Recently the NYC DOE requested a 60 day extension before being required to respond to the complaint. Our attorney Michael Sussman contested this saying the extension was unwarranted and unnecessary. Such an extension would guarantee the petitioners could not possibly return to their positions this school year.

The 60 day extension was denied, and the court granted the DOE 30 days to respond. NYC DOE must submit to the court their written response to our complaint by May 4th. There is a conference scheduled for May 19th.

(2) The NYC DOE has changed its in-school COVID testing policy. At this time it does not appear the changes will make any significant impact upon our litigation.

The changes eliminate the controversial “2 case rule” which closed a school building for 10 days if 2 PCR COVID tests performed in-school on students and staff who show no symptoms came back positive.

It is good that the 2 case rule has been done away with.

Instead they now have a “4 case rule” that is less rigid than the 2 case rule. Two or three cases in a week at a school means that there will be increased testing. It will double to 40%, and it will be more difficult to close a school for 10 days.

The threshold for 10-day school closures includes:
– 4 or more cases in a week
– In different classrooms
– Traced to known exposure in school

TEACHERS FOR CHOICE maintains that the NYC DOE testing system is still flawed on multiple levels; most notably there is no secondary confirmation test protocol of an alleged positive PCR test result, which is what the NFL does. We will have a more extensive, official position on the new changes in the near future.

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