Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi introduce legislation requiring New York State to cover testing costs for private, religious, and nonpublic schools

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

December 9, 2020

Requiring COVD-19 testing in schools is an important piece in containing this virus and keeping our schools open and safe. However, unlike their public counterparts, non- public and private institutions are being forced to cover the expense of this testing without reimbursement from the state. This unfunded mandate from the state puts an undue and unjust burden on many schools. This legislation would provide much needed financial relief, ensure that all schools are treated equally, and guarantee that necessary testing guidelines are followed.

“Testing is a crucial component of keeping our schools open and keeping our students, teachers, and faculty safe during the pandemic. New York State did the right thing by making these tests mandatory, it must do the right thing again by not imposing an unfunded mandate on our religious, private and non-public schools,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi.

“The numbers have shown that schools are actually some of the safest spots during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is vital for New York State to provide funding for our private, religious, and non-public schools to continue their testing practices,” said State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., a member of the Senate Education Committee. “I am proud to sponsor this piece of legislation in the Senate to ensure that our non-public schools are fairly compensated — just like our public schools — for their efforts in helping to keep the students, teachers and faculty safe during these trying times."

“I’m grateful to Senator Addabbo and Assembly Member Hevesi for putting children first,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York. "New York has a solemn obligation to protect the health and safety of all students and teachers, no matter what the school. Our Catholic schools have been enthusiastic partners with the state since this pandemic began. All we ask for is fair treatment for our kids, and that’s what this legislation ensures."

“The nonpublic school community is 1,600 plus schools strong, educating over 400,000 children in NYS and working diligently to keep our children and teachers safe during this pandemic. It is critical that the State make the health and safety of all school children a priority and provide nonpublic schools with the funding necessary to cover the expense of COVID-19 testing,” said Maury Litwack, Executive Director at Teach NYS. “We thank Assemblyman Hevesi and Senator Addabbo for their legislation. NYS continues to make great strides in containing the spread of COVID-19. In doing so, let’s ensure that the health and safety of the nonpublic school community is not left behind and guarantee all schools are reimbursed for the cost of COVID-19 testing."

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