February 17, 2021

NYSUT statement on school COVID testing programs

Source:  NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. Feb. 17, 2021 — New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released the following statement today regarding state guidance released this week on school COVID-19 testing programs:

“The latest CDC guidance makes clear that COVID-19 testing strategies conducted in partnership with schools ‘should be part of a comprehensive mitigation approach.’ Minimally invasive testing is the only proven way to screen for asymptomatic spread of this deadly disease. Waiting for people to display symptoms is waiting too long. Instead of doing everything possible to encourage and allow districts to implement testing programs, the State Education Department recently issued guidance placing unreasonable barriers for districts that have elected to adopt a comprehensive testing program for students attending in-person instruction. We are still in the thick of a public health crisis, and the SED should approach all guidance with that in mind. If there is agreement at the local level on mitigation efforts like testing, the last thing the state should be doing is throwing up barriers to implementing what it takes to instill confidence in local reopening plans. In light of this, we believe SED and the state Department of Health should not only ensure local testing programs can continue, they should take steps that encourage additional districts to adopt routine testing programs.”

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.