by Kendall Tietz

The U.S.’ largest public school district will implement a “test to stay” strategy, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

Starting on Jan. 3 all New York City public schools will now allow students to stay in class, even if they are exposed to classmates who test positive for COVID-19, as long as they are asymptomatic and test negative for the virus, de Blasio said.

“Every child who tests negative comes back to school,” de Blasio said during a virtual press briefing. He called the approach “stay safe and stay open.”

Schools have been among the safest places to be throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re working closely with Mayor-elect @EricAdamsforNYC and his team to keep it that way.

Read more: pic.twitter.com/j8gj4YxfGb

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 28, 2021

“This guarantees more consistency in their education, it guarantees fewer disruptions,” he added. “The jury has come back, we have a lot of evidence now, it’s told us this is the approach that’s going to work for the future.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has encouraged schools to implement the “test to stay” strategy “to minimize absenteeism and learning loss which can occur during traditional quarantine at home,” according to a Dec. 17 press release.

De Blasio also said the New York Department of Education would double the amount of testing it does, which includes a “big push” to get parents to sign testing consent forms.”

New York’s United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew questioned whether the city could meet its goals.

“Teachers are prepared to do their jobs starting January 3rd. The real issue is whether the city can do its job,” he said in a statement. “We are moving closer to a safe re-opening of school next week. But we are not there yet.”

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