Updated DOH Guidelines for Student & Staff School Attendance
Dear HD Community,
Yesterday, all regional school administrators and school nurses met with the St. Lawrence County Public Health and NYS Department of Health to review recent updates on mandatory protocols for both students and staff regarding COVID-19. Please review the flowcharts that are also posted on our website, which outline the steps that you must take if you are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.
We know that this adds additional stress for families especially as we approach cold and flu season because so many of these symptoms are also included on the COVID-19 checklist. Please communicate with Nurse Jill immediately if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms. This applies to both in-person and remote students.
The most recent NYS DOH guidelines dictate that any student or staff member with a symptom must be assessed and/or tested, and have results within 48 hours.If your child’s doctor provides a diagnosis of a known chronic condition, or a confirmed acute illness that is laboratory-confirmed (such as strep throat), they may return to school according to the usual guidelines for that diagnosis. After 48 hours we are required to turn the situation over to the SLC Department of Health to assess. Due to a variety of circumstances within our region including limited access to rapid testing, the County will only be quarantining the student or staff member and their householdat the 48 hour mark so long as the test has been administered and we are simply awaiting results.
The SLC Health Department will make the determination based on circumstances whether to initiate contact tracing and additional isolation protocols. Should a family not initiate testing and health care consultation in a timely manner the Health Department may elect to contact trace and quarantine those who were in contact with the symptomatic person even without a positive test result. This greatly increases the importance of promptly scheduling testing and a health care provider appointment.
These protocols certainly have a high likelihood of impacting our school’s ability to offer consistent in-person instruction. This could also cause us to move into remote instruction with limited notice for our families. We ask that all parents have a contingency plan for child care.
These are certainly daunting times and the updated guidelines offer very little decision making ability at the local level, so we are pouring our health services efforts into helping students, parents, and staff members navigate the process. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.