(October 28, 2021)
Dear Chatham Families,
As I informed you of in an earlier communication, the New York State Department of Health now requires schools to test unvaccinated staff weekly for COVID-19 and offer weekly testing to unvaccinated students whose parents or guardians provide consent. This surveillance testing will be used to detect asymptomatic COVID-19 infections using a rapid antigen test. We will begin this surveillance testing in the near future to comply with the state requirement, which until now, schools in our area have been unable to do due to production shortages that severely limited the availability of testing supplies.
Our District will also now be able to conduct point-of-care testing for students and staff who begin presenting COVID-19 symptoms at school. This will use rapid molecular testing for a quick, onsite result and will be used for symptomatic individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
With the testing supplies we need expected to arrive shortly, we anticipate that both surveillance testing and point-of-care testing will begin for students in mid-November. Members of our school staff along with Questar III BOCES nurses will oversee all testing, which involves gently swabbing the inner part of the lower nostril for both tests.
As part of the attached form, we are asking parents/guardians to please indicate your consent for your child to receive these tests. You may consent to one, both or none. Please respond by November 5, 2021.
Regular testing will help protect everyone against COVID-19. Thank you for your continued flexibility, resilience, and patience as we work together to contain the spread of this virus.
Superintendent of Schools
An online survey for which parents could respond was sent digitally to parents along with this communication.