“Test To Stay” Covid-19 update from Hornell City School District
Recently the New York State Department of Health has provided school districts and local health departments some flexibility with regard to students and employees that are deemed a close contact to a COVID-19 positive. The Steuben County Public Health Department is adopting the “Test to Stay (TTS)” practice for schools when someone has been deemed a contact of an individual that is positive with COVID-19. Please see the press release from Steuben County following this message from the district.
Under current NYSDOH schools guidance, unvaccinated close contacts of people with COVID-19 are excluded from school and quarantined. Test to Stay (TTS) is a strategy that has received media attention and is being piloted in certain jurisdictions. NYSDOH acknowledges TTS as a strategy that allows close contacts to avoid school exclusion (but not other parameters of quarantine) by testing negative with a rapid NAAT or antigen test (e.g., BinaxNOW) on each school day for seven days after exposure. The Steuben County Department of Health has chosen to allow TTS to occur in schools within their jurisdiction, and in accordance with NYSDOH, ensures the following:
- The school/district must have a written protocol that:
- Considers equity – no family will be asked to pay for the daily testing. Tests and materials are supplied by Steuben County Public Health. All families may take advantage of this testing option.
- Actions to follow up on transmission in the event an individual tests positive—contact tracing will occur for every positive individual. The school is responsible to provide a list of school contacts to Steuben County Public Health for investigation and isolation/quarantine purposes.
- The daily test must be conducted and the results received before the school day begins— The daily test must be conducted and the results received before the school day begins, and positive individuals excluded/isolated per existing procedures. As a result, students will not be permitted to ride the school bus in the morning prior to receiving their test. However, with a negative test result, students can ride the school bus home at the end of the day.
- The tests must be done in a monitored setting – the test must be completed at school and home tests will not be accepted.
- The exposed person who is allowed to remain in school through TTS must still be quarantined outside of school instruction/academic periods—no school test is required on weekends and holidays when the seven-day TTS period is still active. No community activities or extracurricular participation including clubs, sports, arts/performance activities is permitted while the student remains in quarantine. The student may only go from home to school for instruction and back home again.
- If the exposed person who is allowed to remain in school through TTS develops symptoms, they must be excluded from school per current school guidance.
While TTS is a strategy to keep kids in school, we will diligently monitor cases and any cases that may be connected with others.
School nurses are currently contacting parents to alert them of this opportunity to remain in school under these conditions and will follow these practices moving forward.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school nurse or the district office.