COVID-19 Update from Superintendent O’Shea

Dear Cohoes Families,

Thank you for your patience and your cooperation as we continue to navigate COVID’s omicron surge and the evolving health and safety guidance from the state and local health departments.

The New York State Department of Health recently released updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidance. The Cohoes City School District will begin using these protocols aligned to New York State and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance starting today.  We have outlined the changes for families below and will continue to communicate any further updates.

One of the biggest changes is that the New York State Department of Health will no longer conduct contact tracing. This means that individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 will no longer be contacted by their county health department. Going forward, we will no longer be reporting information about contacts to county health departments.

There will be situations when the district needs to identify close contacts due to direct exposure. As always, we will communicate directly with parents and guardians during these times, which may result in a student or staff member being excluded from school and asked to stay home and quarantine. We will continue to notify our school community if we learn about a positive case by posting the cases by school on the Cohoes City School District website.

Parents and guardians should remain diligent about monitoring their child for symptoms at all times. Please do not send your child to school if they are ill with COVID-19 symptoms, including: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea.

If a student is considered a close contact or household contact to someone with COVID-19 and does not have symptoms

Based on the latest information we have received, here are the rules regarding exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual:

  • If a student is up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, as defined by the CDC (fully vaccinated and booster if eligible – ages 12 and up; fully vaccinated if not eligible for booster – ages 5-11) they may attend school and do not need to stay home and quarantine.
  • If a student tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they may attend school and do not need to stay home and quarantine.
  • If a student is fully vaccinated, but not up-to-date with a booster if eligible, and has not tested positive in the last 90 days, they may attend school, but must quarantine outside of school. As per NYSDOH they may not participate in extracurricular or after-school activities. (See Frequently Asked Questions, Question 3.)
  • If a student is not vaccinated and has not tested positive in the last 90 days, they will be excluded from school for at least five days after their last close contact with an individual with COVID-19 and will be asked to stay home and quarantine.

For example: Day 0: Date of exposure

  • Day 1: Stay home
  • Day 2: Stay home
  • Day 3: Stay home
  • Day 4: Stay home
  • Day 5: Stay home
  • Day 6: Return to school as long as no symptoms have developed

NYS guidance states that all individuals should wear a well-fitting mask around others (i.e., at home, in public) for a full 10 days following the date of exposure.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19

Regardless of vaccination status, if a student tests positive for COVID-19 at any time, they must isolate for a full five days. Students may return to school after day 5 if they are asymptomatic or if symptoms are resolving.

For example: Day 0: Symptom onset or tested positive

  • Day 1: Stay home
  • Day 2: Stay home
  • Day 3: Stay home
  • Day 4: Stay home
  • Day 5: Stay home
  • Day 6: Return to school if asymptomatic, or if symptoms are resolving

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and took an over-the-counter (i.e., at-home, take-home) antigen test, parents/guardians should report the results to the Albany County Department of Health using this form: Albany County Positive COVID-19 At-Home Test Report.

You should also notify your school nurse via email of the positive test result. Please take a picture of the positive test result and the back of the test kit box. Write your child’s name and date of birth and test date on a piece of paper and include it in the photo.

In order for students who have tested positive and have had symptoms to return to school after five days, they must:

  • Be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
  • Have no runny nose.
  • Have no more than an infrequent, non-productive cough that is not getting worse. Mask use must be tolerated.
  • Have not experienced excessive or unusual fatigue and have no persistent headaches or muscle aches.
  • Have no nausea, diarrhea or vomiting for at least 24 hours.

NYS guidance states that all individuals should wear a well-fitting mask around others (i.e., at home, in public) for a full 10 days following the first day of symptoms (or the date of a positive test, if the student is asymptomatic).

Anyone who is moderately or severely immunocompromised should follow the standard 10-day isolation guidance issued previously.

If a student has COVID-19 symptoms

Regardless of vaccination status, if a student has COVID-19 symptoms they must have a lab negative NAAT, a lab antigen test or two negative over-the-counter (i.e., at-home or take-home) antigen tests taken 36 hours apart, in order to return to school.

In addition to a negative test result(s), students must be well enough to:

  • Participate in school.
  • Not have a runny nose or cough severe enough to make mask wearing difficult or unhygienic.
  • Be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications.
  • Have no diarrhea or vomiting for at least 24 hours.

You will need to share your child’s negative test results with the school nurse. If you are using two over the counter tests you must use the CCSD Health Attestation Form and include pictures of both negative test results and the back of the test kit box. Write your child’s name, date of birth and test dates on a piece of paper and include it in the photo (an example is included within the attestation form).

Please also note:

Students with symptoms that are attributable to pre-existing medical conditions (i.e.; migraines, allergies) and are not new or worsening do not require school exclusion or testing as long as they have a doctor’s note.
If a healthcare provider makes a diagnosis of a confirmed non-COVID-19 acute illness (i.e., laboratory-confirmed influenza or strep throat) AND COVID-19 is not suspected, then a note signed by the healthcare provider explaining the alternate diagnosis may be provided to allow a student, teacher, or staff member to participate in school without COVID-19 testing.

COVID-19 At-Home Tests

We would also like to assist you with getting COVID-19 tests if needed for your child.

  • If your child gets sent home from school with symptoms, you may request that the nurse’s office give you a test kit when you pick up your child.
  • If your child is home sick with symptoms, you may arrange to pick up a test kit from your child’s school.
  • You can order four at-home tests free of charge from the NYS Government. 

As always, we appreciate your support as we continue to work together to keep our students safely in school.

Peggy O’Shea

Superintendent

Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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