(Reuters) – New York City will eliminate its current policy of quarantining entire classrooms exposed to the coronavirus, and instead will focus on the testing program in a way that is more intensive so that asymptomatic students testing negative for COVID-19 can remain in school, officials said on Tuesday.
The move indicates that health officials are increasing the focus on testing and trying to avoid long isolation periods. A day earlier, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reduced the recommended time for isolation for Americans with asymptomatic instances of COVID-19 by five days from the previous guidance of 10 days.
President Joe Biden has pledged to alleviate a shortage of COVID-19 tests with the Omicron variant, which is likely to overwhelm hospitals and hamper travel plans as it is sweeping across the country this holiday week.
New York’s new policy was described by Mayor Bill de Blasio as “Stay Safe, and Stay Open” and will be in effect on Jan. 3. On Monday, around a million students from the city’s public schools will return to school after the holiday break.
New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams, de Blasio and New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the news at a press conference. New York City aims to identify more infections while minimizing disruptions. Officials declared remote learning “a failed experiment.”
New York City used to isolate close contacts of infected students who were not vaccinated for 10 days.
Instead of sending unvaccinated children to school to learn online If a student is positive for COVID-19 they will be given a quick test at home. If they are not symptomatic and fail to pass the test, they will be able to return within a single day.
According to the announcement the students will be offered a second at home test within seven days.
Parents were worried about the move. One tweet stated that schools should be kept off for at least a week following any holidays and travel exposure.
Others called for the mandatory testing of all children, as well as school employees.
New York will also sharply restrict the number of guests it will allow to enter Times Square for its New Year’s Eve celebration due to an increase in new coronavirus cases, fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Separately, Biden on Tuesday revoked the proclamation he issued last month that imposed travel restrictions on eight southern African nations, including South Africa, after the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Content Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965697?src=rss