Since all school staff have been required to get vaccinated, the amount of in-school Covid-19 testing has all but ceased for building personnel, according to city data.
On Tuesday, only 26 teachers were tested citywide, compared to 6,661 students.
Only 33 percent of children ages 5 to 17 are vaccinated citywide, according to city data, so they continue to be regularly tested but many people would like to see rigourous testing of teachers to continue, too.
Ariela Rothstein, a teacher in Elmhurst, said she got a text from a colleague on Nov. 16 saying that the Department of Education changed its policy for staff testing and that they would no longer be included in the weekly surveillance tests. She said there was no notice from the school or the DOE and that she has not been notified of testing going on during work hours since.
“It’s very frustrating because we have family members, some of whom can’t be vaccinated — some are elders, some are little kids. So we’re all getting tested ourselves to help make sure we’re not bringing it home but we’re having to do that on our own time,” said Rothstein.
“Staff members with young kids are having to find ways to get tested and just, think about the drain — we’re already really overworked and then we have to find a site that is open and gives results with a good turnaround time,” she said.
Rothstein said she had to get tested at a tent in her neighborhood when she was exhibiting symptoms but did not get her results back for five days. (They were negative.) When she would get tested at her job, she would get results in 24 hours.
“We need an increase of testing, not a decrease,” she said.
According to the DOE, it did provide “courtesy testing” to staff who were not fully innoculated to ensure compliance with the state mandate and now that all staff must be fully vaccinated, it is “adjusting” the courtesy program to make it available to all.