The following message was sent to all families via email on Friday, September 3.
We are now just a few days away from the start of the 2021-2022 school year, and I wanted to share some important information with you ahead of the first day of school.
First, this week our staff has been hard at work in our schools to prepare for the return of our students. We have held dozens of training sessions, professional development and planning times, and we are all incredibly excited to welcome your children back to school on Tuesday morning!
On September 2, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) released new guidance for P-12 schools for the 2021-2022 school year. This guidance aligns with the current CDC recommendations we used to develop our Fall Opening Plan. Included in this document is a statement that schools should review prior year School Reopening plans, remove outdated measures and adopt current CDC recommendations. I am pleased to report we have already done this – we aligned our Fall Opening Plan with the CDC recommendations over the summer through our Reopening Task Force.
At this time, we are working together with local school districts and our county department of health to facilitate the staffing, supplies and information that will be required to implement the Commissioner’s Determination on the testing of students, staff, and contractors as soon as practicable to ensure a safe environment for our students and staff. Funding for this has not been released by the state to allow schools to fulfill this new requirement. We need to remain flexible, adaptive, and patient.
We also have updated information related to our contact tracing guidelines. We have participated with dozens of local school districts, BOCES, and public health officials to create regional procedures for contact tracing that will be in use consistently across capital region counties. These procedures will be utilized to determine close contacts of any positive case in our buildings, and these vary based on whether the contact was student-to-student, adult-to-student, or adult-to-adult, and for each situation in which someone may be exposed – the classroom, on the bus, in the lunchroom or during sports. These have been summarized in a series of flowcharts. You can find them on our website here. Please review this document to familiarize yourself with the procedures we will be using to determine close contacts of a positive case within our district.
As we shared in our Fall Opening Plan, we are requiring everyone on campus to wear a mask or face covering while they are indoors. On August 27, this requirement was formalized through the governor’s office and the New York State Department of Health. You can read the official announcement on our website. This guidance does not change our masking requirement. We sincerely appreciate your cooperation as we all work to ensure our students and staff remain as safe and healthy as possible. You can review our masking protocols here.
If Someone In Your Household is Sick
Your student and all unvaccinated siblings should stay home if anyone in the household is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, or anyone in the house is awaiting a COVID test result. Symptoms include fever/chills; cough; shortness of breath/difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle/body aches; headache; new loss of taste/smell; sore throat; congestion/runny nose; nausea/vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms reported range from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
If a student becomes ill at school, the student will be placed in the isolation room under supervision. Unvaccinated siblings, even if asymptomatic, will also be placed in isolation until a parent or guardian can pick them up. In order to return to school you will need either a negative COVID test or lab confirmed other diagnosis from a health care provider. If you choose not to see a doctor or have a COVID test, the symptomatic student must remain home for 10 days and any unvaccinated siblings must remain home for 14 days. Vaccinated siblings are permitted to attend school as long as they remain asymptomatic, obtain a negative COVID test within 3-5 days of exposure, are continually isolated from the positive sibling and are masked at all times in school. Vaccinated siblings who become symptomatic must quarantine immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your student’s health office. You can reach their offices by dialing 518-758-7575 and entering the appropriate extension as indicated below:
High School – Michelle Warner, RN ext. 4093
Middle School – Sara Altomer, RN ext. 5041
Primary School – Faith Kubow, RN ext. 6304
We hope to have point of care (POC) testing available in each of our health offices by mid to late October as funding is released from the State. This will allow us to test an individual at school should they become symptomatic. It is important to note that no testing will be administered without parent/guardian consent. We expect COVID testing consent forms to be sent home later this month.
I would like to thank you again for your understanding and support as we continue to adapt to the changing circumstances surrounding the pandemic. I am grateful for your partnership and your trust that we will keep your children as safe and healthy as possible. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office or your child’s building principal with any questions.
I look forward to seeing our students back in our buildings on Tuesday, and I offer my best wishes for a healthy, productive and successful school year!