New NYSDOH Guidance and Keeping Kids in School

Members of the Rensselaer City School District Community:

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 Jan. 18th memo from the New York State Education Department) states that schools are no longer required to do contact tracing, we will continue to do a modified version of contact tracing of any positive cases within our buildings to keep our students and staff informed and safe.

If you are notified by school personnel that your child is a close contact, you are expected to follow the guidance from the State Department of Health. The state also provided a quarantine and isolation chartAdditional information on New York State’s approach to isolation and quarantine can also be found online. This change in state guidance shifts us towards more personal responsibility and accountability. 

Beginning on Monday, 1/24 RCSD will now use a testing protocol in lieu of quarantine (with parent permission).  We are all working to keep kids in school while continuing to mitigate risk as the current surge in cases declines.  Students identified as contacts will be able to continue attending school, but will be tested here on day 2 or 3 and again on day 5 of the quarantine process.  Our health office will manage the screening testing as necessary.  Any asymptomatic students currently on quarantine may return to school if parents give permission to the nurse for screening on Monday.

We also can now provide one additional at-home test kit for each student as we did earlier this month. They may be picked up at each office or requested by email in the same way as our first round. 

We have been notified of 15 more students and 4 staff members that have tested positive for COVID-19 since Tuesday.  Please remember to send students to school with a mask and to keep the kids home if they have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.   We will get through this together.


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