The New York City school system is ending its policy of quarantining entire classrooms exposed to Covid.
A new testing program will enable students who test negative for Covid and do not have symptoms to remain in school, reports The New York Times.
The city’s previous policy was to quarantine unvaccinated close contacts of infected students for 10 days.
The "Stay Safe and Stay Open" policy will take effect on Jan. 3 after the nearly one million students who attend the city's public schools will return from winter break.
The model, known as "test to stay," was endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month.
To avoid frequent closures and disruption, the city will provide students with rapid at-home tests to take if someone in their classroom tests positive.
If the students are not showing symptoms and test negative, they will be allowed to return the next day. They will then be given a second at-home test within five days of their exposure. Students or parents will self-report test results to schools.
Students will also receive rapid tests if their classmates or teachers are displaying symptoms. Those who test positive will have to quarantine for 10 days.
The city will now test both vaccinated and unvaccinated students under its surveillance program, whereas before it only tested unvaccinated students. Only students whose parents have allowed them to be tested are eligible.
New York still plans to close entire schools when there is evidence of major in-school spread.