Superintendent’s Update: COVID-19 Protocol Update

Dear DCS Community:

Although the number of positive cases that we have been experiencing in our schools spiked following the winter break, there is an indication that the current strain of COVID, while highly contagious, is much less severe than previous strains.

Because of this, the governor has indicated that New York State will be discontinuing contact tracing efforts. SCPHS has also notified us that school districts should now focus contact tracing efforts only on higher risk areas. To that end, DCS will no longer be using the contact tracing algorithms we have been using all year to determine quarantines and will, instead,  focus only on tracing situations that pose the highest risk. These include:

  • Meal times
  • On school buses

This change will result in very few people being deemed close contacts in the future. Those that are will deemed to be close contacts will be given the option to participate in our Test to Stay (TTS) program using rapid tests in lieu of a 5 day quarantine. The change in contact tracing in addition to TTS may, quite possibly, eliminate the quarantining of asymptomatic people altogether.

The consistent use of a well-fitting mask is still required in our school buildings at this time, as per the governor’s executive order. It is also imperative that anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 stay home until symptoms resolve and either test negative on a PCR test or on two rapid tests taken 36 hours apart. These tests can still be obtained for free from either health office.

We will continue to monitor infection rates and guidance from public health officials and adjust our protocols accordingly. I will continue to communicate with you as guidance changes.

Thank you,
Jim  Niedermeier