“Most important,” she said, “is the ability to move quickly to prevent transmission clusters.”
She said she would recommend “staying the course, continuing to monitor the situation closely and being ready to step back if necessary”.
Other school buildings affected included some operated by the 1,050 community organizations that contracted with the city to provide free pre-K, including the Beth Jacob Day Care Center in Borough Park and the Divine Mercy Catholic Academy in Ozone Park, in Queens. Each had a reported case but did not stop.
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Disturbing delays in testing and screening schools were a key reason, along with staffing issues, why the city’s teachers’ union pushed for a one-week extension for in-person teaching to most of the students, said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Teachers’ Federation.
But, he says, the city has made improvements. Fast Track test sites for teachers now return results quickly, often within 24 hours. The mayor of Blasio has opened a Covid situation room that places staff from the city’s Department of Education, Department of Health, and Test and Trace Corps in the same room to speed up contact tracing.
A dedicated team of telephone contact tracers has been assigned to manage the schools.
“When they tried to run it through their normal process, it wasn’t working,” Mulgrew said. “As the situation room seems to be buzzing, it’s getting better and better.”
In an agreement reached earlier this month between the teachers’ union and the city to avoid a strike, between 10 and 20 percent of people who show up to class in person at each school will be tested each month, starting from October.
Brandon Perthuis, the business manager of Fulgent Genetics, which handles much of the testing for the city’s public schools, said that while details were still being worked out, it’s likely his company would send staff. in a given school one day per month to test 10 to 20 percent of the students.