Parents question Cuomo’s yellow zone plan that requires weekly COVID testing for students
There's a new concern for some Hudson Valley parents whose kids attend school in the yellow zone.
Parents are criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo's yellow zone plan. They say their kids' educations are being affected by people in the red zones who are openly and explicitly violating COVID rules.
Starting Friday, the state is mandating that 20% of in-person students, teachers and staff in yellow zone schools be tested for COVID-19 weekly. A different group will be tested each week.
Link Elementary in New City is one of those schools. In fact, it's the only Clarkstown school that is located within the yellow zone – and none are in the red zone.
The 210 Link Elementary students who are learning remotely won't be affected by this, but the 33 teachers and 39 staff members who work on site, and the 146 students learning under the hybrid model will be.
Anthony Arenella says he and the other parents in the school have to fill out a survey asking if they agree to the testing.
The survey says if the school doesn't get enough people to take part, they will eventually be required to shift to remote instruction until the cluster is resolved.
Arenella says it's not fair to put parents in this position.
"If the situation was that our district had an issue and needed to be tested, and it was to keep people in our community safe and obviously other communities safe, I mean…we would," Arenella says. "I think in this particular case, the issue is that it seems as if the testing is a formality due to an arbitrary line that was made."
This debate is happening at the same time the school announced a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. In response, all kids will learn remotely Monday and Tuesday.
Officials say in a statement, "The employee who tested positive did not have close contact with any students while infectious. Those who were in close contact with this employee have been informed directly…They were also provided information on the steps needed to return to work, which may include a 14-day quarantine period."
The parent survey must be filled out by Monday.
The district says the state hasn't instructed school officials on what to do if people refuse to be tested.