Dear Yonkers Public Schools Learning Community
Over the past several weeks, there have been steady increases in COVID-19 positive cases throughout Westchester County and New York City. The City of Yonkers is not immune to these increases. We are closely monitoring the data, as our top priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
The District’s commitment is to continue to provide in-person instruction for our students when health and safety conditions enable us to do so. There is nothing more valuable to children’s academic and social-emotional growth than being in class with their teachers and peers, and receiving their vital support services as needed.
To maintain in-person instruction requires relentless vigilance to the CDC 3 W’s – wear a face covering, wash your hands often and watch out for crowds. Our students and staff are safe while in our school buildings, because of our mitigation measures. These include the daily screening and temperature checks before school arrival, face covering requirements, social distancing and the ongoing cleaning of the school facilities. Governor Andrew Cuomo issued new guidance:
“UPDATE: Effective the week of November 16, 2020, schools in yellow zones must test 20% of in-person students, faculty and staff over the two-week period immediately following the announcement of a yellow zone designation. If the results of the testing reveal that the positivity rate among the 20% of those tested is lower than the yellow zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, testing at that school will no longer be required to continue. A positivity rate in a school that is lower than in the yellow zone is a sufficient demonstration that in-person instruction is not a significant driver of local viral spread. The current positivity rate for zones can be found at, https://forward.ny.gov/
However, if the results of the testing over the first two weeks reveal that the positivity rate among in-person student, staff and faculty is higher than the Yellow Zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, the school will be required to continue to test 20% of the in-person population on a bi-weekly basis.”
If areas in the City of Yonkers receive Yellow Zone designation, we will be required to facilitate COVID-19 rapid testing by randomly selecting 20% of the in-person students, faculty and staff in the school buildings in the Yellow Zone to be voluntarily tested. The current COVID-19 rapid test is easy, quick and safe. Medrite Urgent Care, a community partner, or trained school nurses will administer the test in collaboration with the Westchester County Department of Health. If necessary, additional trained staff from a partnering medical and/or clinical educational facilities may assist.
Keeping our schools open and safe for in-person instruction relies on the partnership and cooperation of staff, parents and students. The random testing process will help to reduce COVID-19 transmission in our schools, by identifying positive COVID-19 cases when symptoms are not present.
In preparation for random testing in schools, we need your help now. We ask for your consent to permit our trained medical personnel to administer a COVID-19 test to your child. For the safety of our school community, if we do not receive consent for enough students to be tested, the students who do not have parental consent for testing may be required to learn remotely. Additional information about the testing will be available.
Any child randomly selected for testing who is uncomfortable or resistant to being tested, will not be tested. We will address their concerns and communicate with the parents/guardians so the child can feel comfortable to participate in future testing.
Thank you for ongoing commitment to keeping our community safe and our schools open for children to learn and thrive.
Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools