Spreading the word on a change.org petition. The petition is copied below and can be found at this link if you want to sign: http://chng.it/DFtv8nmh

The broad consensus is that in-person education is superior to online education. However, parents, students, teachers, administrators and staff are hesitant to go back to school without a concrete plan from the NYC DOE about how to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus. The science tells us that we need tests to stop the spread of the virus if we want to carry on with regular aspects of our lives. But we know that most people are not getting tested. And even those who are able to get tests face delays in receiving results. All of this contributes to the significant uncertainty facing the reopening of NYC public schools. But there is a way to make schools safe for everyone, and that is through inexpensive rapid in-home saliva tests.

The Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor DeBlasio, DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza and the New York City Council should look at the science and embrace this technology. The cost of giving every resident of NYC a test kit of 6 months of tests surely is worth restoring education to our children and a true “reopening” of our economy by allowing parents to fully engage in the work force. (Not to mention the other uses of this technology outside of education to bring people safely back to pre-pandemic activities.)

Essentially how it works is this: everyone in the city could be given enough test strips to test once every day, at a cost of roughly $1 per test. Every morning, each person tests their saliva on their strips, receiving results within 15 minutes. Kids, teachers and administrators alike who want to go to school in person need to test negative that morning. Those who test positive stay home from school and can immediately isolate and do the necessary contact tracing. Of course there would need to be a way to enforce and validate negative tests. Parents would be more comfortable sending their children to school, and teachers would be more comfortable teaching, knowing that everyone else in the school building tested negative that morning.

The amazing thing is, this test exists today! It’s the Abbot ID Now. There are also other companies, including E25Bio, Sherlock Biosciences, Mammoth Biosciences that have strip tests in the late stages of development.

What's preventing the rapid strip test from being used? The FDA has not approved the use of these tests because they are less "sensitive" than the current tests (known as PCR). But these PCR tests are detecting even very tiny amounts of virus that are not likely to be contagious/transmissible. The thinking is that the strips are less "sensitive," but are still accurate at detecting the virus when it is most likely to be transmissible, which is what really matters when controlling an outbreak.

If you would like to learn more about the work of Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Michael Mina, who has been vocal about the use of strip tests, please see the resources below.

MedCram summary of the science behind the technique, with key snippets from the This Week in Virology podcast: https://youtu.be/h7Sv_pS8MgQ

Full length This Week in Virology podcast/video: https://www.microbe.tv/twiv/twiv-640/

New York Times Op-Ed by Dr. Mina: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/03/o...rus-tests.html

Scientific study (preprint) where Dr. Mina is a co-author: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1....22.20136309v2