(August 14, 2020)
Per the New York State Department of Education’s guidance to schools for reopening, Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York’s Schools, “it is strongly recommended that schools comply with CDC guidance and not conduct COVID-19 testing or require testing or antibody testing of students or staff members. The decision of whether a test needs to be conducted should be determined by a healthcare provider or the local department of health. CDC Interim Considerations for K-12 School Administrators for SARS-CoV-2 Testing Schools should identify who in the community is responsible for referring, sourcing, and administering testing (e.g., local health department testing site, physician offices, hospital system) particularly in the event that large-scale testing at the school is needed. Schools wanting to perform COVID-19 testing must apply and be approved as a limited service laboratory (LSL). Please refer to the instructions and application materials, and if applicable, the worksheet for multiple locations.” Therefore, the school district will not be testing individuals. A list of regionally available testing locations is available on the school district website for individuals that may want to be tested on their own. School district health care professionals will refer symptomatic individuals to their primary care provider (PCP) for testing.
In the event an individual screens confirmed for COVID-19 symptoms while at school, meaning that they have a fever, or appear symptomatic while at school with any of the COVID-19 symptoms identified by the CDC, they will be placed in an isolation area. For students, parents/guardians will be called to pick the student up from school immediately. Staff members will be asked to leave immediately. Individuals will be referred to their primary care provider (PCP) for evaluation. If the primary care provider (PCP) determines that the symptoms are not COVID-19 related, a note from the primary care provider (PCP) stating such diagnosis must be provided in order to return to school or work. If the primary care provider (PCP) determines that the symptoms are COVID-19 related, testing must occur.
It is imperative that individuals seek medical evaluation from their primary care provider (PCP) to determine whether or not these symptoms are related to a known or diagnosed condition other than COVID-19 (i.e. ear infection, allergies, etc.).
At the minimum, New York State Department of Health Guidelines requires “documentation from a health care provider following evaluation, negative COVID 19 diagnostic test result and symptom resolution, or if COVID 19 positive, release from isolation.” If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, isolation protocols will be required and release from isolation will be determined by the local health department of residency.
Any symptomatic student or staff awaiting testing results should self-quarantine and will not be allowed to return to school until released by a negative COVID-19 test result. If an individual is confirmed as positive for COVID-19, isolation protocols will be required for 10 days per CDC guidelines and symptom free for 72 hours, and release from isolation will be determined solely by local health department of residency. A release letter provided the local health department of residency will be required for the return to school.
If a confirmed test result occurs, the county of residency will be notified by the laboratory performing the test. Individuals will also be notified by either the initial testing facility or their local health department for negative results. The parents of any student who has tested positive must notify the school district as soon as possible. The district COVID-19 School Resource Person for the school will coordinate with the local health department of residency for contact tracing purposes.
In the event a student is under mandatory quarantine by the local health department, the school district will provide remote learning options for the student for the length of their quarantine.
School closure decisions will occur in consultation with the local health department. This may involve the closure of a classroom or entire facility depending on the quantity of suspected and/or confirmed cases. There may be no need to close a school building if the local health department determines that the identified close contacts are excluded from school and the facility may continue normal operations. Full closure of a school facility may be necessary in some situations and will be implemented on a case-by-case basis.
COVID-19 TESTING SITES
|New York State Testing Site|
State University New York at Albany
1400 Colonial Quad
Albany NY 12208
Must make an appointment by
Calling: 1-888-364-3065 or
Completing an online form: www.covid19screening.health.ny.gov
|Greene County Public Health|
411 Main Street
Catskill, NY 12414
By appointment only
|CareMount Medical Urgent Care|
6734 Route 9
Rhinebeck NY 12572
|Kingston Mid-Town Mobile Site|
27 Grand Street
Kingston, NY 12401
845-303-2730By appointment only
|Columbia County Department of Health|
325 Columbia Street
Hudson NY 12534
|Priority 1 Urgent Care|
2080 Western Ave
Guilderland NY 12084
|Columbia Memorial Hospital Rapid Care|
2827 Route 9
Valatie, NY 12184
need referral from County Department of Health
|Rite Aid – Colonie|
1863 Central Avenue
Colonie NY 12205
|Community Care Physicians|
713 Troy Schenectady Road
Latham NY 12110
|WellNow Urgent Care |
446 Fairview Avenue
Hudson NY 12534
|Emergency One Kingston|
40 Hurley Avenue
Kingston, NY 12401
920 Lark Drive
Albany NY 12208
Columbia County Department of Health
School Nurse Guidance regarding COVID-19
(Issued on August 14, 2020)
- Evaluate student’s chief complaint, signs and symptoms, and compare to the list of known signs and symptoms of SARS CoV-2 for children.
- Obtain whether child has had close contact with a known case of SARS CoV-2, or if they have had recent travel history out of a 50 mile radius from home, and was that travel to a known “hot spot” area.
- If a child presents with ANY symptoms while at home the child should remain at home and NOT go to school. If while in school a child presents with ANY of the known SARS CoV-2 signs and symptoms, or is suspect of being exposed to someone with SARS CoV-2, or has a known travel history to an “at risk” location, the child should be isolated to a designated room in the nurse’s office. Preparations should be made for the child to be sent home for voluntary quarantine if there is a travel history and they are asymptomatic. If they are asymptomatic and suspect of being exposed to someone with SARS CoV-2 they will be sent home for mandatory quarantine. If the child presents with signs and symptoms they will be sent home for mandatory isolation.
- If any of the above incidences should occur, the nurse will notify the Columbia County Department of Health (CCDOH) and provide the child’s parent or guardian’s contact number so a case investigation can begin and close contacts to the child identified. School officials will aid CCDOH in identifying any teachers or students in which the child has had close contact (within 6ft for 10 minutes or more) while at school, or during transport to the school. (see item #8 below and Tables 1 and 2)
- Parents should contact the child’s PMD to discuss the case, and if the MD agrees it is a suspect case of SARS CoV-2, the MD can schedule a diagnostic PCR test for the child. If the child’s PMD is not available, parents can contact any urgent care center or hospital emergency room.
- The child can return to school only after 10 days of isolation (if symptomatic), has been three days (72hrs) without a fever, and their symptoms have improved. If the child is asymptomatic but suspect of being in close contact to a positive case, or traveled to a “hot spot” location, that child will be out of school for 14 days of quarantine before being allowed to return to school. If they should present with symptoms during that time, then the isolation protocol takes effect. (See Tables 1 and 2)
- Once the child is sent home, arrangements for remote teaching will begin immediately.
- Internal contact tracing will begin to determine what bus (if applicable) the child was on, what class/classes the child attended that day, and what other children did the child have close contact with on the bus or in class.
- If a teacher calls in with symptoms of SARS CoV-2 and or states they were in close contact with a confirmed case of the virus, the school administration will contact the Columbia County Department of Health and give them the teacher’s contact information so the health department can conduct a case investigation and begin contact tracing. Any person who has been identified as a close contact of the teacher will be notified to quarantine and will be monitored for the development of symptoms. The teacher will seek to be tested and remain in isolation until the test results come in and their isolation period is determined by CCDOH.
- The school district should have a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) in place that addresses replacing teachers who become a suspect case or may have had close contact with a suspect student and therefore will have to mandatorily isolate or quarantine at home. This plan should include a threshold marker of teacher absenteeism identifying when the district may have to consider temporary school closure until adequate staffing can be resumed.
- The school district should send a letter to parents and guardians prior to the start of the school year that instructs them to treat children who have allergies with medication prior to sending them to school for the day, in order to avoid allergy symptoms being mistaken for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Parents should be forewarned by the school district that children with any signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be evaluated by the school nurse, who will determine the next course of action based on that evaluation. If the child fits criteria per the New York State Guidelines, the child will be immediately sent home to be evaluated by the child’s healthcare provider. The provider shall determine if testing for COVID-19 is recommended and whether the child may or may not return to school. The school nurse may consult with the child’s healthcare provider upon the child’s return to school if questions should arise regarding the return to school note provided.
- Parents/guardians should be advised that they must have an emergency plan in place in the event that their child is sent home because of illness or due to exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual or individuals while in school. The plan should anticipate and prepare for up to 14 days of required quarantine for the child. Parents/guardians should be further notified that any child who has been identified with illness or exposure to COVID-19 may be required to leave the school immediately. Arrangements for transport of said child should be appropriate and should limit undue exposure risk to others (e.g. the child should not be transported home by bus or with medically fragile individuals).
- The Columbia County Department of Health should be used as a resource only after the school has referred to the guidelines set forth by New York State, the individual schools’ policies and procedures and COVID-19 Response Tables 1 and 2, attached.