Only one week into the school year, hundreds of students at PS 87 are back home in quarantine after one teacher tested positive for COVID 19, the New York Post was first to report.
At the start of the school year, Mayor de Blasio began rolling out policies in an attempt to keep everyone safe while also keeping schools open. While students are not subjected to quarantine if they are exposed to other COVID positive peers, this rule does not extend to teachers.
“How does this make any sense?” asks one mother of a PS 87 student. “There should be one consistent policy, or at least some explanation as to why there are different rules for different groups.”
Guidelines include weekly testing and mandates for vaccines, masks, and social distancing. “It doesn’t feel like we have come very far from last year. At least then we were home and knew out kids were safe. Now we are taking more risks, and still have to experience shut downs and quarantines,” said Melody who has a son at another UWS public school.
School administrators and NYC government officials state that they are only following CDC guidelines. Nathaniel Styer, a representative from the Department of Education, told the Post that “the policy allows for kids to get tested after five days and return to school in eight days if they come up negative.” He also said that educators are prepared for remote learning, but hopes to be in person as soon as possible.
The policies are designed to keep schools open, although it seems like classroom and school shutdowns will still pop up this year. Another public school parent said that they have to keep childcare help on standby because they expect this to be the first of many incidents to come.
“It’s going to be a long year,” she said. “Our family is doing our part, and if everyone else does theirs, then hopefully we can have a productive in-person year of learning for our kids.”
Styer and other officials note that safety is their top concern. It remains to be seen if they can balance safety and keeping schools open at the same time.