The updated guidance comes as the agency’s reputation for objectivity has been undermined by reports that political appointees within the Trump administration have intervened in the drafting of CDC reports.
The CDC is condemning mandatory coronavirus testing in K-12 schools, updating guidance after New York City began random testing this week on thousands of students and educators.
In revamped advice published this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses voluntary “surveillance” testing in schools but decries any mandates.
“It is unethical and illegal to test someone who does not want to be tested, including students whose parents or guardians do not want them to be tested,” the CDC said.
Key context: The updated guidance comes as the agency’s reputation for objectivity has been undermined by reports that political appointees within the Trump administration have intervened in the drafting of CDC reportsduring the pandemic.
In New York City’s first day of random coronavirus testing in schools this week, the city’s Department of Education ran more than 1,700 tests, finding one positive case among the 56 schools that participated. City officials have said students whose guardians do not consent to the tests could be barred from in-person education and offered remote learning if enough consent forms are not filled out to produce an appropriate sampling from a given school.
Many U.S. universities have also mandated coronavirus testing for anyone who uses campus facilities during the pandemic.
Additional guidance: Classrooms and schools “may” temporarily close if there is a coronavirus outbreak, and local health officials “may” test students, teachers and staff, the CDC said, stopping short of urging those actions.
The agency recommended against retesting people who have tested positive and do not have symptoms of coronavirus for up to three months after their last positive test.