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COVID Return to School Protocol

All information is subject to change based on updated guidance from the NYS/Albany County Department of Health and/or the Centers for Disease Control, updated as of May 25, 2021.

Return to School Protocols for Students

Your child has been identified with symptoms which could be consistent with a COVID-19 diagnosis. We strongly recommend that you have your child seen by a healthcare provider or the local Department of Health, within 48 hours.

Per New York State Department of Health regulations, if you do not have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider or produce a negative COVID test, within forty-eight (48) hours of symptom onset, North Colonie is required to report this to the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH) for follow-up. Once reported, ACDOH will contact you to discuss the case and begin contact tracing.

Please note: Per the updated NYS Department of Health and Albany County Department of Health guidance, any student who is exhibiting a COVID symptom cannot return to school based on a negative result from a rapid SARS-coV-2 antigen test.

Only lab-based PCR tests or CEPHEID Xpert Xpress machine COVID tests are acceptable to return to school.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The following describes the protocols the NYS Department of Health has put in place to ensure a safe return to school.

If you choose to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider within 48 hours and your child receives a negative COVID test result:

  • Provide results of a Negative lab-based PCR 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.
    • A North Colonie Nurse may be contacting you to inquire about the status of the child.

If you choose to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider within 48 hours and your child receives a positive COVID test result:

  • Obtain a written release from isolation from the local DOH, stating that the child is able to return to school, which is typically:
    • 10 days have passed since the date of the positive test or the first symptoms have appeared
    • The child has been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication
    • The child’s symptoms are improving
    • There has been no vomiting or diarrhea for at least the previous 12 hours
    • Please note:
      • While the ill person is in isolation, all members of the household must quarantine at home until released by the local health department, typically ten (10) days after last contact with a positive patient. (monitor for symptoms for an additional 4 days)
      • 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.
      • A local health department will notify parent/school and provide exact return to school date
      • A North Colonie Nurse may be contacting you to inquire about the status of the child.

If you choose to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider within 48 hours and your child receives a laboratory confirmed alternate diagnosis:

  • Obtain a written diagnosis from the healthcare provider for a laboratory 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 as well as a release to return to school.
  • Note: a signed note from a health care provider documenting an unconfirmed acute illness, such as a viral upper respiratory illness or viral gastroenteritis, will not suffice.
  • Please note:
    • A North Colonie Nurse may be contacting you to inquire about the status of the child.
    • If your child is diagnosed with a health condition and prescribed an antibiotic, the child must complete 24 hours of the antibiotic medication prior to returning to school.

If your child has a pre-existing condition that presents itself with COVID-like symptoms (runny nose, cough, etc.):

  •  Obtain a written diagnosis from the healthcare provider of a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms.
  • The note from the healthcare provider must detail the pre-existing condition, along with all-related symptoms, and must indicate that COVID is not suspected.

If you choose NOT to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider within 48 hours:

  • Your child must remain out of school for at least ten (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:
      • Per New York State Department of Health regulations, if you do not have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider or produce a negative COVID test, within forty-eight (48) hours of symptom onset, North Colonie is required to report this to the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH) for follow-up.
      • Once reported, ACDOH will contact you to discuss the case and begin contact
        tracing.
      • A North Colonie nurse may be contacting you to inquire about the status of the child.

If your child presents with COVID-like symptoms (runny nose, cough, etc.) and your child tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days or you received your final vaccination in the last 6 months:

  • Your child must remain out of school until:
    • All symptoms are improving
    • Your child has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication
    • Please note:
      • Your child does not need a negative COVID test to return to school, unless ordered by their physician.

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