STATEN ISLAND, NY – As uncertainty continues to swirl around the return to schools in New York City, students and school staff have been encouraged to get tested for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), with the city increasing its capabilities to deliver faster turnaround time for test results.
As of Wednesday, at least 56 schools in the New York City system had at least one staff member testing positive for the coronavirus, including six schools on Staten Island, according to the city’s Department of Education (DOE).
The six sites are:
- PS 78, Stapleton
- PS 58, New Springville
- New Dorp high school
- Tottenville High School
- PS 62, Rossville
- PS 13, Rosebank
To ensure a safe return to live teaching, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged students and school staff earlier this week to get tested at one of the priority or express testing sites of the city before returning to their school buildings.
“Now we want parents to get their kids tested. And this week, priority tests are available for students as well as for school staff at our centers. Again, it’s fast, it’s free, it’s convenient, and you get your result quickly, ”de Blasio said Monday.
The mayor encouraged members of the public school community to use the 22 priority testing sites managed by the city’s health and hospital system.
These walk-in sites, located in the five boroughs, offer free COVID-19 tests to all DOE students and staff, as well as employees of daycares and Learning Bridges programs under contract with the city, with results promised within 48 hours.
Employees are asked to bring proper identification, along with proof of employment from the DOE, students are not required to provide proof of enrollment.
“All you have to do is say you’re working for public schools or you’re a public school student, and you’re getting priority results within 48 hours,” de Blasio said.
On Staten Island, there is only one priority testing site, located in Gotham Health at 165 Vanderbilt Ave. The site is open seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
All New Yorkers, whether they return to school soon or not, are eligible for free rapid tests through the city’s COVID Express testing sites.
COVID Express testing sites, which do not book an appointment and require an online appointment, promise test results within 24 hours.
Residents can schedule an appointment at a COVID Express testing site using the city’s website.
Unfortunately, there are currently only nine COVID Express testing sites located throughout the city, none of which are on Staten Island.
PANDEMIC RESPONSE LABORATORY
To help speed up the processing of test results, de Blasio announced Thursday that the city has launched a new pandemic response lab, dedicated solely to processing COVID-19 test results from NYC Health + Hospital sites within 24 to 48 hours.
By November, the pandemic response lab is expected to have the capacity to handle up to 20,000 COVID-19 tests per day, which will significantly increase the city’s current capacity and speed up the processing of results.
“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to taking advantage of every possible opportunity to expand the city’s testing capacity as part of our continued response,” said Kenra Ford, vice president of clinical operations, NYC Health + Hospitals.
“The Pandemic Response Lab allows us to increase the number of tests we can process daily, reduce turnaround times across the city, and immediately ensure expanded access to testing,” Ford added. .