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Update on COVID-19 procedures and quarantines

Jan. 20, 2022

Dear families,

Health and safety guidance from the state and local health departments related to COVID-19 continues to evolve, often affecting protocols in our K-12 schools. We recognize that the ever-changing guidance often creates more confusion and can be incredibly frustrating. We also feel frustrated but must do everything we can to keep students in school, while keeping everyone in the building safe and abiding by guidelines from local and state health agencies.

Below are some specific changes that are being implemented immediately. Test to Stay will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 1. We recognize the changes below are incredibly complicated and situational. Please refer to this flowchart to help you understand the latest guidance.

COVID-19 Exposure

If exposed and vaccinated/boosted

If an individual has received their booster shot at least two weeks prior to being exposed, they would not need to quarantine or participate in the Test to Stay program.

If they develop symptoms, they will need one of the following to return to school:

  • Visit a testing location/healthcare provider and receive a negative rapid or PCR test; or
  • A completed attestation form after the individual received two negative over-the-counter tests within 36 hours

If exposed and vaccinated but not boosted

If an individual is vaccinated and eligible to be boosted, but has not received their booster shot, they would not need to quarantine or participate in the Test to Stay program.

However, they would need to follow the steps below:

  • If the individual is asymptomatic, they may come to school.
  • If they develop symptoms, they will need one of the following to return to school:
    • Visit a testing location/healthcare provider and receive a negative rapid or PCR test; or
    • A completed attestation form after the individual received two negative over-the-counter tests within 36 hours

Extracurricular/after school activities

Individuals 12 years and older who are eligible for a booster but are not boosted, and who have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, cannot participate in extracurricular or after school activities for five days from their initial exposure.

If the student is vaccinated but not eligible for a booster shot, they may continue to attend school and participate in extracurricular/after school activities. 

If exposed and unvaccinated

Individuals who are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should follow the steps below:

  • If the individual is asymptomatic, they may come to school and follow our Test to Stay protocols. Test to Stay will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 1. 
  • If they develop symptoms, they will need one of the following to return to school:
    • Visit a testing location/healthcare provider and receive a negative rapid or PCR test; or
    • A completed attestation form after the individual received two negative over-the-counter tests within 36 hours

New York state recommends that the individual quarantine for at least five (5) days after their last close contact outside of school and wear a well-fitting mask around others (e.g., at home, in public) for a full 10 days following the date of exposure.

If COVID-19 positive within past 90 days

If the student tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days and was deemed a contact of a positive individual, they would not need to quarantine and can attend school and participate in extracurricular/after school activities as long as they are asymptomatic. If they are symptomatic, follow the steps below in the ‘Symptomatic’ section.

COVID-19 Positive

Regardless of vaccination status, if a student tests positive for COVID-19 they must isolate for a full five days. Students may return to school after day five if they are asymptomatic or if symptoms are resolving.

If a student took an over-the-counter (i.e., at-home, take-home) antigen test, parents/guardians should contact the school nurse and report the results to the Washington County Department of Health.

State guidance dictates that all individuals should wear a well-fitting mask around others (e.g., at home, in public) for a full 10 days following the first day of symptoms (or the date of a positive test, if the student is asymptomatic).

Symptomatic

Regardless of vaccination status, if a student has COVID-19 symptoms, they must have one negative test from a healthcare provider/testing location, or two negative over-the-counter (i.e., at-home or take-home) antigen tests taken 36 hours apart to return to school.

  • If parents/guardians are presenting the district with two negative over-the-counter antigen tests, they must also present the following attestation signed by a parent or guardian. Please note, individuals must stay out of school for at least three (3) days if they are symptomatic and receiving at-home tests.
  • In addition to a negative test result(s), students must be well enough to:
    • Participate in school;
    • Not have a runny nose or cough severe enough to make mask wearing difficult or unhygienic; and
    • Be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, please follow the guidance above.

Please also note:

  • There is no exemption to the testing requirement for symptomatic students.
  • If a healthcare provider makes a diagnosis of a confirmed non-COVID-19 acute illness (e.g., laboratory-confirmed influenza or strep throat) AND COVID-19 is not suspected, then a note signed by the healthcare provider explaining the alternate diagnosis may be provided to allow a student, teacher or staff member to participate in school without COVID-19 testing.

Further information can be found on the Washington County website.

Thank you for your continued partnership. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Douglas Silvernell
Superintendent of Schools