The two largest school districts in the U.S. are rolling out ambitious and costly plans to test students and staff for the coronavirus, bidding to help keep school buildings open amid a rise in infections among the nation's school-age children.
New York City is set to begin testing 10% to 20% of students and staff in every building monthly beginning Thursday, the same day the final wave of the district's more than 1 million students returns to brick-and-mortar classrooms for the first time in six months.
"Every single school will have testing. It will be done every single month. It will be rigorous," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in announcing the plan as part of an agreement with the teachers union to avert a strike. At least 79 Department of Education employees have died from the virus.
With an estimated 100,000-120,000 tests expected each month, each costing between $78 and $90, New York City's school-based testing plan goes well beyond safety protocols seen in most other districts.