Some New York City public school students and teachers will test positive for COVID-19 during the upcoming school year, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday — as he announced 55 recent cases among Department of Education staffers.
“Let’s talk about the obvious — some people will test positive and those folks will immediately get support,” de Blasio told reporters during his City Hall press briefing.
Hizzoner promised that the city’s contact tracing efforts “will go into effect right away” and after quarantining for two weeks “those professionals will come back to work and they will complete the entire school year.”
“The same will happen with some students,” de Blasio said. “Some students will test positive at some point in the year and they’ll go home for two weeks.”
De Blasio attempted to reassure concerned DOE staffers, parents and students by revealing that of the 16,982 school-based employees tested so far for COVID-19, 55 of them tested positive, making for a positivity rate of .32 percent.
“So that tells us a lot,” the mayor said of the low positivity rate. “That tells us how much all the efforts to fight back this disease are working.”
Of those tested, 98 percent of those had their results back within 48 hours, de Blasio said, noting that the testing effort will be continued through this week.
“We have to remember that for the very small percentage of people who test positive for the coronavirus it is a very temporary reality,” de Blasio.
The mayor said there is now free priority testing for any DOE student or staffer at 22 Health+Hospital sites at city public hospitals across the five boroughs.
Asked whether the school system will actually reopen for in-person learning as planned on Sept. 21, de Blasio said, “Of course it will open.”
“It’s never going to be perfect, but it will be what schools need,” said de Blasio.
Additionally, 2,000 more educators will immediately be deployed into Big Apple schools amid DOE staffing concerns.
Meanwhile, de Blasio also announced the launch of a “DOE COVID response situation room” with a direct hotline for city principals. It will be staffed by members of the DOE, the city’s Test and Trace Corps and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Some DOE educators recently railed to The Post that they were not notified or contacted by city disease detectives when staffers reported positive coronavirus infections.