Health department urges School District of Philadelphia to ramp up testing

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is urging the School District of Philadelphia to drastically ramp up covid testing of unvaccinated students.

The city’s acting health commissioner made the announcement in her weekly briefing on COVID in the city. Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said testing unvaccinated students is in keeping with CDC recommendations but did not go so far as to mandate it.

In a statement, the School District wrote it supports efforts to mitigate the spread, or COVID-19 and encourages vaccinations. The statement does not commit the district to the large-scale testing.

Seven city schools have been temporarily closed due to COVID outbreaks. The Health Department is now loosening the guidelines used to shutter schools.

In Wednesday's meeting, Bettigole announced the Department would no longer recommend schools be closed when six covid cases are found but suggest closure based in part on the percentage of positive tests in the entire school. That number will be set at more than 3%.

Arianna Juarez, of South Philadelphia, said her three younger siblings are studying at home because their school, Southwark, is closed until Monday due to an outbreak. Juarez supports the temporary closing of schools and increased testing.




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