Jan. 19: Updated COVID-19 Guidance and District Protocols

Dear parents/guardians,

Thank you for your continued partnership as we work to keep our students and staff healthy, and our students in school.

Rapid tests available

We now have the ability to distribute one rapid test kit per week for students as needed. If you would like to pick up a rapid test for your child, please stop by your building’s front office. Tests will be available during the school day. You can also request free at-home COVID-19 tests, ordered on www.covidtests.gov and delivered by USPS. (Limit of 1 order per household. Each order contains 4 individual tests.)

Updated guidance and district protocols

As you most likely are aware, health and safety guidance from the state and local health departments related to COVID-19 continues to evolve. As always, we remain committed to keeping our students in school, while providing a safe learning environment for all. We also remain committed to providing staff and families with clear, updated information on the latest guidance as it relates to COVID-19 testing, quarantine and isolation.

Effective today, the Queensbury Union Free School District will use the following protocols. If you have specific concerns or questions regarding your child, please contact your school building’s COVID coordinator(s) (below) and/or building nurse(s):

One of the biggest changes you can expect is that the New York State Department of Health will no longer conduct contact tracing. This means that individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 will no longer be contacted by their local department of health. Going forward, we will no longer be collecting information about contacts to report to county health departments.

However, we will continue our due diligence with regard to notifying impacted staff and families if we learn about a positive case. In some situations, this will involve a general notification alerting staff and families that there was a positive case in a particular class or school. This type of notification will ask staff and families to monitor for symptoms, but will not necessarily result in anyone being identified as a close contact and excluded from school. 

The district utilizes the website to notify parents of positive cases. For the following buildings, in the event of an exposure, the process is as follows:

K-5: QES and WHBI sends an email to families if there is a positive in homeroom.

QMS and QHS: QMS and QHS utilize the website, but if there is a concern and/or direct exposure, parents will be notified when appropriate. 

Based on the latest information we have received, here are the rules for when a student is exposed to an infected individual:

If a student has been exposed to COVID-19:

        If a student is up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations, as defined by the CDC, they may come to school. 

        If a student tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they may come to school.

        If a student is not up-to-date on their COVID vaccination and has not tested positive in the last 90 days, they will be excluded from school for at least five days after their last close contact with an individual with COVID-19. 

        For example:

        Day 0: Date of exposure.

        Day 1: Stay home

        Day 2: Stay home

        Day 3: Stay home

        Day 4: Stay home

        Day 5: Stay home

        Day 6: Return to school as long as no symptoms have developed.

        State guidance states that all individuals should wear a well-fitting mask around others (e.g., at home, in public) for a full 10 days following the date of exposure.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 at any time, including following an exposure, the following guidelines apply:

If a student tests positive for COVID-19:

        Regardless of vaccination status, if a student tests positive for COVID-19 they must isolate for a full five days. Students may return to school after day five if they are asymptomatic or if symptoms are resolving.

        If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and took an Over-the-Counter (i.e., at-home, take-home) antigen test, parents/guardians should report the results to Warren County Public Health.

Warren County has created an online reporting tool for Warren County residents to report positive home test results. You may report the positive through the new online portal or by phone at (518) 761-6580.

       In order for students who have tested positive and have had symptoms to return to school after five days, they must:

        Be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

        Have no runny nose.

        Have no more than an infrequent, nonproductive cough that is not getting worse. Students with a cough must be able to tolerate continuous mask use as breaks are not allowed.

        Have not experienced excessive or unusual fatigue.

        Have no persistent headache or muscle aches.

        Have no nausea, diarrhea or vomiting for at least 24 hours.

        State guidance states that all individuals should wear a well-fitting mask around others (e.g., at home, in public) for a full 10 days following the first day of symptoms (or the date of a positive test, if the student is asymptomatic).

 Regardless of whether or not there is a known exposure to COVID-19, it is very important that students who are sick do not attend school.

If a student has COVID-19 symptoms:

        Regardless of vaccination status, if a student has COVID-19 symptoms they must have a lab negative NAAT, lab antigen test, or two negative Over-the-Counter (i.e., at-home or take-home) antigen tests taken 36 hours apart, in order to return to school.

        In addition to a negative test result(s), students must be well enough to:

        Participate in school;

        Not have rhinorrhea (runny nose) or cough severe enough to make mask wearing difficult or unhygienic;

        Be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications; and

        Meet other school or district requirements to return to school after a non-COVID illness.

        If a student tests positive for COVID-19, please follow the guidance above.

As always, thank you for your continued support and partnership in keeping our school community #SpartanSAFE