12,000 New York City students have been taken out of in-person learning because their parents haven't signed consent slips for random COVID-19 tests

In this file photo dated September 29, 2020, students are coming to face-to-face classes outside of Public School 188 in New York. AP Photo / John Minchillo, File
Approximately 12,000 students in New York City have been banned from face-to-face learning due to a lack of parental consent who would randomly test them for COVID-19.
The students whose parents have not signed the consent forms return to distance learning for the time being.
School officials said students can return to personal education after signing their forms.
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New York City schools have banned approximately 12,000 students from in-person learning for lack of parental consent so that they can be randomly tested for COVID-19.
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Nathaniel Styer, a spokesman for the city's Department of Education, told Bloomberg that students are moving to distance learning for the time being.
Those excluded from face-to-face learning were among 190,000 preschool, elementary, and special school students who returned to classrooms in early December.
All pre-school and kindergarten-aged students - approximately 60,000 of the students who returned to the classroom - are excluded from sampling. New York health officials randomly test 20% of the remaining 130,000 students for COVID-19 each week, but children will need parental permission to participate.
"Due to the extensive efforts of our staff, 91% of students who require a consent form have one on file," Styer told The Staten Island Advance. "Students without informed consent and without approved exemptions will be switched to distance learning."
Health officials told Bloomberg that students who have been banned from face-to-face learning will be able to return if they receive their parental consent forms.
The reasons parents don't sign informed consent forms are unknown, but Styer told Staten Island Advance that random testing can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
"By giving consent to test, parents allow us to respond quickly to positive cases and we can give more students more consistent personal tuition - for sure," he said.
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