While educrats scramble to get schools ready for opening in less than two weeks and teachers threaten a sickout over the lack of planned mandatory COVID-19 testing, a respected healthcare agency has revealed that Mayor de Blasio for two months sat on its offer to test all school kids and teachers for free.
Beginning in June, the 800,000-patient, 2,500-doctor Somos network said it reached out to the mayor five times to offer to set up free testing sites at NYC’s most at-risk public schools. But meetings were canceled and calls ignored — until this week, when de Blasio finally had a video chat with the agency on Wednesday.
Still, no deal was struck and the non-profit says Hizzoner continues to say he doesn’t want to mandate testing.
Dr. Ramon Tallaj, chairman of Somos — which runs 38 city-backed COVID-19 testing sites in clinics, tents and churches throughout New York and has tested 325,000 low-income New Yorkers since March — says on-site testing at schools is a matter of life and death.
“The mayor is surrounded by people who do not grasp what is going on,” Dr. Tallaj told The Post. “If he opens schools the way he is proposing, parents are going to die.”
Currently, the city’s official plan to reopen schools relies on students and teachers to voluntarily seek out testing at city-run sites and hotbed hospitals.
The Department of Education website adds: “If a student or teacher is feeling sick, they are required to stay home and, if their symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, are asked to get tested.”
Without mandatory testing, warned Tallaj, a specialist in internal medicine, “58% of the children and their families who have not seen the virus could get infected by the 1 or 2% who are positive with the virus.
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