New York News

Judge Rules in Favor of Catholic Schools in Archdiocese’s Case Against DOE

Our Lady Queen of Angels School in the East Harlem section of New York City is seen in this 2015 file photo. (Photo: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

ST. GEORGE — On Nov. 23, Judge Wayne Ozzi of the New York State Supreme Court — Richmond County granted COVID-19 testing relief sought by Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York.

The Archdiocese filed a lawsuit last month against the City’s Department of Education (DOE), stating that the DOE should legally provide the same health and testing resources for its students as it does for public school students (as required under Section 912 of the State Education Law). The filing also stated that the City had provided Catholic and other non-government schools with different and inferior testing options, in disregard for the requirements of the Education Law.

“We are most grateful for the judge’s swift and favorable decision on behalf of our Catholic school students and their families,” said Michael J. Deegan, superintendent of schools of the Archdiocese of New York, on Nov. 23.

“The law is clear: the health and safety of students in non- public schools are as important as the health and safety of students in public schools. We hope Chancellor Carranza and the City DOE will now do the right thing and immediately provide the appropriate COVID-19 testing in accordance with the law.”

Schools in yellow zones must randomly test 20% of its in-person faculty, staff, and students (ages 5 and up) in order to stay open for in-person learning. Yellow-zone schools in the Archdiocese are working with SOMOS Community Care, who will conduct the required, bi-weekly testing.

Parents must submit a consent form for their children to be randomly tested and will not be charged for the tests. SOMOS is administering a short swab test that only swabs the front part of the nasal passage. A SOMOS results team representative will contact patients with test results within 24 to 48 hours.

The Archdiocese serves nearly 62,000 students from Pre-K through 12th grade in 172 schools, across 9 counties and boroughs throughout New York.