1/3/22 – Superintendent’s Update: Changes to COVID-19 Protocols

Monday, January 3, 2022

Superintendent’s Update: Changes to COVID-19 Protocols

Dear DCS Community:

As you are probably already aware, our region, like the state and nation as a whole, is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 positive cases attributable to the more virulent omicron strain of the virus and holiday transmission. Nevertheless, our district remains committed to staying open for in-person learning. We will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, NYSDOH, and SCPHS to mitigate transmission in our school buildings which have been proven effective over time. The following represent recent changes in protocols designed to keep our students and staff healthy and in school.

Test to Stay Pilot in PK-2
The district will be piloting a Test to Stay program beginning in grades PK-2 beginning on January 10. This is an alternative to quarantine for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students exposed to a positive case at school and requires three tests at regular intervals during the 10 day quarantine period. Some considerations:

  • Quarantine must be due to am exposure at school or on school transportation
  • Student must be asymptomatic
  • The school district must have parental permission to test in school. Home testing is also permissible with this signed attestation
  • This program is subject to test availability
  • This program only allows exposed individuals to attend school during the quarantine period. Students are still required to isolate at home at other times and may not attend any extracurricular activities. 
  • SCPHS guidance can be found here

Access to At Home COVID-19 Tests at School
In order to provide families in our community with easier access to COVID-19 testing, we will now be distributing rapid antigen tests provided by New York State upon request as long as tests are available. The purpose of these tests is to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within our community as part of the ongoing effort to keep our school buildings open for in-person instruction. Tests can be utilized whether or not a student is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Parents or guardians interested in obtaining a kit may do so by contacting nurses@duanesburg.org.

Attestation for Tests Taken At Home
Students exhibiting cold-like symptoms may return to school with two negative rapid antigen tests administered 36-hours apart and the resolution of symptoms. This signed attestation form will be required to return. Please note that students returning to school must be well enough to participate in school, not have a runny nose or cough severe enough to make wearing a mask difficult or unhygienic, and be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications.

Test to Return Early from Quarantine
Asymptomatic students who are quarantined may return to school after Day 7 by taking a PCR test on day 5 and testing negative OR rapid antigen tests on Day 5 and Day 6 of quarantine (at least 36 hours apart). If using rapid antigen tests, as long as there are no symptoms and both tests are negative, the parent/guardian can send the student back to school after day 7 with a signed attestation. Rapid antigen tests and attestation forms will be sent home in backpacks of quarantined students upon request.

Best wishes on a happy start to 2022 and a quick end to this most recent spike in cases!

Dr. James Niedermeier