With schools opening again, Brooklyn parents are seeking clarity about the city’s COVID-19 testing plan for their kids.
On Dec. 8, Councilmember Mark Treyger sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza to urge them to come up with a comprehensive plan. He says there has been a lack of transparency in the process since the beginning of the school year and cited conflicting statements about whether the tests would be mandatory.
“Local superintendents instructed principals that they cannot deny entry to any student if they didn’t have any consent forms,” he said. “There was a lot of confusion about what the testing plan actually is for schools. With the latest rollout with the new school reopening proposal, there still remains some confusion on what the testing plan is. They use the word ‘mandatory,’ but when you dig deeper there are still unanswered questions.”
Treyger also said the concerns of parents need to be acknowledged and cited as an example the mother of an autistic boy who preferred that her son be tested by his own pediatrician rather than by a stranger.
“They asked for a reasonable accommodation,” he said. “For whatever reason, the DOE was giving them a hard time.”
Tregyer said some students have experienced anxiety during the testing and would prefer to have their parents by their side.
“Some parents are asking if they can be present when their children get tested, at least the first time, and the response from the DOE was there’s issues in regard to social distancing,” he said.
When asked if mobile testing could be set up outside a school to allow for social distancing and parental supervision, the DOE said it would cause a staffing issue.
“It is important to have an equal opportunity for all students for COVID-19 testing, but it is imperative that the city make appropriate accommodations for students that require them,” said Treyger.