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A letter from the Superintendent – Updated guidance from NYS Dept. of Health

| October 5, 2020

Dear North Colonie Families,

Welcome to the first full week of October. I am delighted that our students are doing well with the changes to the school environment, and we all continue to work to ensure that they remain happy, healthy, and safe in our schools.

On Thursday, Sept. 30, the New York State Department of Health released a Pre-K to Gr. 12 COVID-19 Toolkit containing updated guidance. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the new information. 

Updated Return to School Protocols

As you are aware, everyone who enters our school buildings is screened for possible COVID-like symptoms. Those who are ill are required to stay home.

If a student or employee shows symptoms of COVID, the following procedures will be enforced in order to allow for the return to school/work

If you choose to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider and…

Your child receives a negative COVID test result:

  • Obtain medical documentation by a healthcare provider, clearing the child to return to school/work
  • Provide results of a Negative COVID diagnostic test (copy of lab results or physician documentation)
  • Ensure that all symptoms must be improving
  • Ensure that the child is fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication
  • Ensure that there is no vomiting or diarrhea for at least the previous 12 hours

Please note:

  • If your child is diagnosed with another health condition and prescribed an antibiotic, the child must complete 24 hours of the antibiotic medication prior to returning to school/work.
  • A North Colonie Nurse will be contacting you daily to inquire about the status of the child
  • If this option is chosen, please be advised that if the test results are not available within 48 hours, per New York State Department of Health, North Colonie is required to report this as a positive case of COVID to the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH).
  • Once reported, ACDOH will contact the individual to discuss the case and begin contact tracing.
  • Once the test results are received and if they are negative, ACDOH will discontinue the process of contact tracing.

          If you choose to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider and… 

          Your child receives a positive COVID test result:

          • Obtain a physician’s note and written release from isolation from NYSDOH as required stating that child is able to return to school/work
          • Ensure that at least 10 days have passed since date of positive test or first symptoms have appeared 
          • Ensure that the child has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication
          • Ensure that it has been at least 3 days since date symptoms have improved, including cough and shortness of breath
          • Ensure that there has been no vomiting or diarrhea for at least the previous 12 hours

          Please note:

          • If your child is diagnosed with another health condition and prescribed an antibiotic, the child must complete 24 hours of the antibiotic medication prior to returning to school/work 
          • A local health department will notify parent/school and provide exact return to school date 
          • A North Colonie nurse will be contacting each family daily to inquire about the status of the individual (students only)

              If you choose to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider and…

              Your child has a pre-existing condition and receives a confirmed alternate diagnosis:

              • Within 48 hours, obtain a written diagnosis from the healthcare provider of a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms, or a confirmed acute illness (ex: laboratory-confirmed influenza, strep-throat, etc.).
              • The healthcare provider must indicate that COVID is not suspected.
              • The note from the healthcare provider must detail the alternate diagnosis or pre-existing condition, along with all-related symptoms, as well as a release to return to school.

                    Please note:

                    • A North Colonie nurse will be contacting each family daily to inquire about the status of the individual
                    • If your child is diagnosed with another health condition and prescribed an antibiotic, the child must complete 24 hours of the antibiotic medication prior to returning to school/work.

                      If you choose NOT to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider…

                      • Your child must remain out of school for 10 calendar days after the first symptom(s) is identified. At the end of the 10 days:
                        • ensure that all symptoms are improving
                        • ensure that your child has been fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medication

                      Please note:

                      • A North Colonie Nurse will be contacting your family daily to inquire about the status of your child
                      • If you choose to have your child tested for COVID without being evaluated by a healthcare provider (i.e. at a pharmacy), your child may NOT return to school until all the above guidelines are met even if the test result was negative.
                      • Per New York State Department of Health regulations, North Colonie is required to report this as a positive case of COVID to the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH).
                        • Once reported, ACDOH will contact you to discuss the case and begin contact tracing.

                      NYS COVID-19 Report Card Clarification

                      As you may know, all schools in New York State are required to submit a daily report to the state of any cases of COVID-19 linked to a school. The COVID-19 Report Card is available to the public and includes daily case statistics from schools throughout the state. 

                      It is important to note that the district is required to report cases where someone shows symptoms of COVID-19, but has not been tested or has not received an alternative diagnosis within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. These cases are also reported as “positive.”

                      Please be aware that, in accordance with state regulations, we must treat these “presumed positives” as if they are confirmed cases of COVID-19. The district will work with the local Department of Health to follow appropriate contact tracing procedures so that anyone who has been in direct contact will be notified. 

                      It is also important to note that the state includes an estimate of “Lab Reported Positives based on Residential Address” for each school district. This estimate does not reflect the number of cases confirmed in any district school. Individual school data on the dashboard is listed separately below this estimated number.

                      It is also worth noting that the dashboard may reflect cases of individuals who reside within the district, but do not attend a North Colonie school. This may include homeschool students, and students who attend private school or another public school outside of the district. 

                      If there were to be a confirmed case of COVID-19 linked to one of our schools (through a student or staff member, or an approved visitor), the district would coordinate its response with the Albany County Department of Health to support contact tracing. All families would be notified through a School Messenger email and it would be posted on our district website, www.northcolonie.org.

                      Since Sept. 9, 2020, the district has been submitting required reporting data to the state, which includes student and staff information relating to daily attendance, absences, suspected COVID-19 symptoms and testing results. County health officials have verified COVID-19 positive test results submitted by the district to date.

                      Thank you for taking the time to review this important information. If you have any questions, please reach out to your school nurse who will be able to assist you. 

                      Our work together as a community is always valued, now more than ever.

                      Sincerely,

                      D. Joseph Corr
                      Superintendent of Schools

                      Category: Archive, District News

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