Last week we shared information about the NYS Cluster Action Initiative. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has begun labeling areas of New York with high COVID-19 rates as yellow, orange or red zones. In the event our area is designated a yellow zone, Department of Health (DOH) guidance requires that schools test 20% of in-person students, along with 20% of teachers and staff over the two-week period in order to remain open for in-person instruction.
Here in Queensbury, under the encouragement of the state, our goal remains to keep our schools safely open for in-person instruction and to continue to support social and emotional learning for all students.
In preparation for this possibility, we actively worked with Warren County Public Health to create an on-site testing plan in order to preserve valuable in-person instruction. To that end, the district will conduct its own testing under Warren County Public Health’s laboratory certification. County health officials will train staff and offer technical support and advice. Our school nurses and COVID-19 administrator will oversee rapid testing of students and staff.
Under a Yellow Zone designation, with parent/guardian consent, your child may be randomly selected to receive a free diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus. The testing process will involve a trained staff member inserting a small swab, similar to a Q-Tip, into the front of the nose. This is the simple, quick, shallow nasal swab test. Results are available in 15 minutes. Notifications of negative results will be sent via SchoolMessenger. Positive test results will prompt the implementation of isolation procedures and notification to parents/guardians via a phone call.
Please watch this short video of Mr. Keys and myself, along with our children, as they demonstrate the swabbing process for these noninvasive rapid tests.
Testing is not mandatory, and students will not be excluded from school if they choose not to be tested. Once again, to be designated as a Yellow Zone, Warren County’s seven-day infection rate must be 3.5% or higher for 10 consecutive days combined with a seven-day average positivity rate of 15 people. Warren County’s current (12/1/20) seven-day infection rate is 1.2% and the seven-day average positivity rate is 5.6 people.
Please read through the testing consent form and submit it by Monday, Dec. 7.
Please contact your child’s building principal if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued cooperation and support. Let’s keep our schools Spartan SAFE!
Kyle L. Gannon
Superintendent of Schools