The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said all coronavirus tests in public schools must be “voluntary,” warning that mandatory testing is a violation of both ethics and the law.
In a new set of guidelines for testing in K-12 schools earlier this week, the CDC noted that administrators are required to obtain consent from parents or guardians before testing students.“If a school implements a screening strategy, the tests should be offered on a voluntary basis”, said the CDC.
It is unethical and illegal to test anyone who does not want to be tested, including students whose parents or guardians do not want them tested.
The health agency also recommended that schools test students if there is “Active epidemic” at the institution in question, or if the schools are located “In communities disproportionately affected or who do not have access to testing.” People “Showing symptoms of Covid-19 and close contacts of confirmed or probable patients of Covid-19” should have priority.
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However, the CDC has urged school administrations to wait up to three months before retesting positive students, as data currently suggests that “Some people test persistently positive due to residual viral material, but they are unlikely to be infectious.”
In some parts of the country, local school districts are working to develop rules and guidelines for testing students as some areas reopen. In New York, for example, a mandate from Governor Andrew Cuomo requires that 20% of students in schools “Yellow zone” hotspots should be tested. While the state offers a ” consent form “ parents must sign before their child is examined, it is unclear how the governor’s mandate could be implemented if the parents refused to cooperate.
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