1/6/22 – Superintendent’s Update: COVID-19 Protocol Update

Dear DCS Community:
As you know, guidance about COVID-19 is constantly evolving. As a district, our goal is to streamline the information we receive so you are aware of available resources and best practices to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our school community. The information we share with you comes from our local department of health (Schenectady County Public Health Services), NYSDOH and the CDC.

CHANGE TO QUARANTINE PERIOD: NYSDOH has announced that quarantine periods for the general population will now be reduced from 10 to 5 days in accordance with recent CDC recommendations, effective immediately. A summary of some details:

  • This change supersedes our “Test to Return” protocol, which will be discontinued. Our “Test to Stay” pilot program will continue for grades k-2.
  • Day 0 is the day of symptom onset or (if asymptomatic) the day of collection of the first positive specimen.
  • If asymptomatic at the end of 5 days or if symptoms are resolving, isolation ends.
  • Individuals who are moderately-severely immunocompromised should continue to follow standard 10 day Isolation Guidance.
  • This 5 day quarantine period will apply to those who are not fully vaccinated or fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster but not yet boosted.
  • Fully vaccinated and boosted individuals are not required to isolate. If symptoms appear, these individuals should quarantine and seek testing. In this situation, quarantine would end when the test is negative.

BOOSTERS: Please make sure to provide a copy of updated vaccine cards to nurses if you receive a booster shot. Vaccinated individuals who are eligible for boosters and have not received them will now be subject to quarantine.

AT HOME TEST KITS: Many of the at home test kits that we have distributed have February expiration dates. The expiration dates have been extended by three months, so a kit with a February 1 date will actually expire on May 1.

FACE MASKS:  Though we do not plan on changing mask requirements in school, public health organizations have now indicated N95 or KN95 masks are now preferred. We have a limited number of these masks available upon request in our health offices on campus and will be ordering more.

REPORTING POSITIVE AT HOME RESULTS:  If a DCS student tests positive from a rapid at-home kit, it should be reported to both the district (email nurses@duanesburg.org) and Schenectady County Public Health Services.

SCHOOL-RELATED COVID TESTING:  Schenectady County has a new COVID-19 testing site at Ellis McClellan campus (600 McClellan St, Schenectady) in the former Primary Care Plus space. The testing is intended for students, employees and families in order to stay in/return to school. You can make an appointment here.

ISOLATION/QUARANTINE GUIDANCE:  Schenectady County has made a list of resources available, with answers to commonly asked questions.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions about this new information.

James Niedermeier