Dear Parents and Guardians:
The New York State Department of Health recently updated its guidance on COVID isolation and quarantine, which formally ends its contact tracing requirements.
While the new guidance (and a January 18th memo from the New York State Education Department) states that schools are no longer required to do contact tracing, we will continue with the same level of contact tracing of any positive cases within our school building.
If you are notified by school personnel that your child is a close contact, you must follow the guidance from the State Department of Health found here. The state also provided a quarantine and isolation chart, which can be viewed here.
Please note that you will no longer receive a phone call or quarantine/isolation affirmation or release forms from the county health department. Individuals are now expected to complete these on their own at the conclusion of their isolation or quarantine period. These forms can be found here – quarantine, isolation.
Additional information on New York State’s approach to isolation and quarantine can be found online at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-contact-tracing.
Our school district will continue to provide additional at-home test kits to families as they are distributed by the state as part of a home test option. This will allow your child to remain in school if identified as a close contact and test negative at home. If your child becomes ill at school, we will be able to test them using our point of care testing machines (based on your prior consent).
This change in state guidance shifts us towards more personal responsibility and accountability. Ultimately, the best way to avoid being a close contact or risk infecting others is to continue to follow our mitigation protocols, including physical distancing, wearing a well-fitting mask (unless eating or drinking), and staying home if you are sick.
Please note that we will also modify our general COVID notifications moving forward. Starting next week, we will move to a weekly notification email to parents and guardians (instead of emails as cases happen). This is consistent with what other schools have done in the region, whether it is sending a weekly summary or moving to a COVID dashboard that is updated weekly. Families of children identified as a close contact at school will continue to receive a phone call from school personnel, consistent with what we have done throughout the pandemic.
Thank you for your continued cooperation, flexibility, and patience throughout the pandemic.
Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent