After parents of Public School 8 in Brooklyn Heights raised concerns about the city’s plan for 10% of unvaccinated children to be swab each week, they realized that this was not enough to catch new cases or give families some peace of mind following potential exposures. The program does not cover vaccinated workers or children in kindergarten and pre-k.
Jennifer Rendeiro, a P.S., stated that if only 10% of the students are selected every Monday, it’s still a small number of students being tested regularly. 8 Parent and co-president, Parent Teacher Association. “One idea was to get this van. We would love it on a daily basis.”
For its first visit, the mobile testing van will be at the school from 7:30 to 8:30 am Thursday. Rendeiro stated that if more than 50 people are tested, the visit is free. If less than 50 people show up, the school will charge $500 to the PTA.
Rendeiro stated that the PTA will try to get the van back regularly if there is enough interest.
Rendeiro stated, “My idea is that if we can make this pilot and show it succeeds, then maybe we can share how it worked with other schools.”
Last week, 20% of students and staff at school buildings were tested every week.
Less than 200,000 of the 550,000 DOE students who are unvaccinated have signed consent forms to be tested in school for the virus. Some students are not aware that their consent forms from last school year have expired.
Cynthia McKnight is the president of the Community Education Council for District 13. P.S. 8 is located there. 8 is found.
Nathaniel Styer, a DOE spokesperson, stated that “our schools were among the safest places to go during the pandemic. Weekly in-school testing was critical to this success. In-school positivity rates are significantly lower than the citywide rates. 100% of our school employees have been vaccinated and there are many city-run, unpaid testing sites throughout the city.
Rendeiro admitted that the arrangement for the mobile testing van was possible only because P.S. 8 has a PTA that can cover the $500 cost.
According to city data, the school raised more than $1.5million during the 2018-19 school year. It has a poverty rate below 73%, which is far below the DOE average.
McKnight is a parent liaison to schools in District 13. He said that a middle school with a higher poverty rate, and a smaller PTA, expressed an interest in increasing its COVID-19 testing. However, was having trouble figuring out how.
McKnight stated that “we do have equity problems in the district.”
Rendeiro stated that PTAs in the district have already started working together to share ideas, resources, and that she hopes to spread the mobile testing van model further if it is successful.
“The District 13 PTAs run the gamut. Benedito stated that equity is a concern. “But it is a concern about testing too, so we’re trying that to balance that and keeping our children safe.”
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