The Department of Education must begin administering COVID-19 tests in charter schools, a court ruled Friday.
New York County Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo determined that the DOE “shall provide and administer COVID-19 screening tests to students and staff of charter schools upon identical terms as testing provided to public schools,” court papers say.
The decision is a win for charter schools and families who complained that the city had unfairly denied them coronavirus tests despite public schools receiving them weekly.
A lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court in December charges that charter schools should be entitled to the same testing requirements as the DOE’s public schools because they receive public funding.
Many of the charter schools were forced to go fully remote because they couldn’t get a hold of the tests, according to the suit, which was filed by schools including Zeta, Renaissance, Classical, Public Prep Academies and Ascend.
“This is a victory for charter public schools in their effort to reopen their classrooms while keeping staff and students safe. We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration to implement a testing regimen as soon as possible,” James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, said in a statement.
The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night.