Dear Hoosick Falls Families,

The guidance for COVID-19 for schools in New York State continues to evolve on an almost daily basis. We have received a significant amount of information over the past few weeks that changes how we will be handling exposures to COVID moving forward. Last week, the New York State Department of Health released an update outlining the changes taking place along with a document containing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Updated Protocols

The state and county health departments announced that they will no longer continue contact tracing cases of COVID-19. School districts received new state guidance on the evening of January 13, which stated schools would also no longer need to conduct contact tracing. This information places school districts in a difficult position as the guidance conflicts with the requirement that schools still inform unvaccinated individuals if they are identified as potentially exposed to a COVID-19 case while at school. Therefore, to prevent an outbreak within the building,  the Hoosick Falls Central School District will continue to monitor the exposure of students to COVID-19 and inform parents as we have for the past 18 months.

Due to the highly contagious nature of the omicron variant, and continuing to follow prior existing contact tracing protocols, parents and/or guardians of both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who are considered close contacts will be contacted by the school district. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days will not receive a call and can continue attending school.

If you are notified by the school district that your child is a close contact, you should follow the guidance from the state DOH found here. The state also provided a quarantine and isolation chart, which can be viewed here. Since the Department of Health no longer conducts contact tracing, you will no longer receive phone calls from the DOH. New York State guidance requires individuals/parents/guardians  to complete affirmation and release forms for quarantine and/or  isolation. Once complete, these forms should be returned to the school.

Isolation Protocol

A person must isolate when they test positive for COVID-19 or are sick and exhibiting symptoms such as cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, temp over 100°F, chills, headache, vomiting/diarrhea, or muscle aches/fatigue.

If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, please follow these steps:

  1. Keep your child home and test them for COVID-19 (at-home tests are now accepted).
    1. If test result is positive:
      1. Complete the COVID-19 Test Results Reporting Form or contact the school nurse if you cannot complete this form.
      2. Isolate at home for 5 days. Day 0 would be the date symptoms started or there is a positive test result. Return to school on Day 6.
      3. To return after the five days, students who have tested positive must:
        1. Be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
        2. Have improved symptoms of illness.
      4. Individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should isolate for 10 days.
      5. Notify any individuals who have had close contact with your child recently.
    2. If test result is negative:
      1. Complete the COVID-19 Test Results Reporting Form or contact the school nurse if you cannot complete this form.
      2. Return to school when symptoms have improved.
      3. Stay at home if fever, cough or runny nose persist.
  2. Before your child returns to school, submit the Affirmation of Isolation Form to your school. (This is a fillable form so you can type in it, save it, and then email it to the school.)

COVID-19 Exposure without symptoms – Test At Home Protocol

“Test At Home” is allowable for students, teachers, and staff who had a school-based exposure. TTS is used to avoid school exclusion by testing negative through serial testing using rapid NAAT or antigen tests during a five-day period following exposure. Vaccination remains the only solution to eliminate all quarantine restrictions.

Process for Test At Home:

  1. The exposure must have occurred in the school setting and while both the person with COVID-19 and the exposed person were consistently and properly wearing masks.
  2. The exposed person must remain asymptomatic; if the exposed person (who is allowed to remain in school through TTS)  develops symptoms they must immediately be excluded from school for five days. This individual should be tested.
  3. The exposed person is tested a minimum of two times during the five-day period following exposure, unless recognition of the exposure is delayed. Testing will take place on Day 3 and Day 5 as determined by the school nurses.
  4. The test must be conducted, and the results received, before the school day begins.
  5. If the test is done in an unmonitored setting, such as an Over-the-Counter (OTC) at-home test, the Parent/Guardian will need to complete the Hoosick Falls COVID Test Reporting Form for TTS at a minimum.
  6. People participating in TTS are allowed to continue to ride the school bus following all existing guidance, including requiring masking.
  7. If testing is done in school, schools will report test results to county health departments.  If testing is done at home, parents will report test results to the New York State Department of Health for isolation or quarantine.

We appreciate your patience and continued support as we navigate this ongoing pandemic and changing guidance.

If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 testing or other health and safety protocols, please do not hesitate to contact the school through the following:

Related posts