Utilizing COVID-19 test kits to keep students in school instead of quarantine
Updated on Jan. 18, 2022
A message from Superintendent Wiles
Dear Guilderland CSD Families,
Since the start of the school year, the intent of the Guilderland Central School District has been to keep our students safely in school, for in-person instruction. With this objective in mind, GCSD will use the allotment of COVID-19 test kits made available to us by New York State to implement a “Test to Stay” program. The Albany County Department of Health just approved Test to Stay programs for school districts in the county; the GCSD program will take effect on Jan. 10, 2022. By utilizing the COVID-19 test kits in this targeted and purposeful manner, we will be able to keep asymptomatic students learning in school.
What is Test to Stay?
With parental permission, Test to Stay allows asymptomatic, unvaccinated students who have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive student to stay in school. To do so, the student must test negative three times during a five-day period, measured in calendar days, following the exposure. As always, a parent and/or guardian has the right to quarantine their student instead of test, but this option helps to remove the burden of quarantine on families.
Please note, the Test to Stay program only applies to direct exposures at school. If a student is exposed to COVID-19 outside of the school setting, that student will be required to follow the quarantine protocol for contacts of a positive case established by Albany County Department of Health.
How Test to Stay works
When a positive case is identified, normal contact tracing will take place. A school administrator will contact families of students who are considered a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual. The family can agree to have their student tested three times, or approximately every other day, during a five-day period following the exposure, as an alternative to the student having to quarantine during school hours. Test to Stay testing will be done in each school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. A negative test will keep students in school but will not exempt them from any other restrictions of quarantine, including school-based extracurricular activities.
If a student tests positive, a parent and/or guardian will be required to pick up the student for a quarantine period to begin, according to the protocols for individuals testing positive established by Albany County Department of Health. The positive results will be reported to the Albany County Department of Health.
Who is eligible for Test to Stay?
- All GCSD unvaccinated students in grades K-12 who would be placed in quarantine because of a school-related COVID-19 exposure are eligible, provided they are asymptomatic.
- Siblings of a positive student will be required to quarantine.
- Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are not required to quarantine and will not need to take part in the Test to Stay program during that 90-day period.
I truly believe that using the NYS-provided COVID-19 test kits to implement a Test to Stay program is in the best interest of students and families and presents the most equitable and targeted use of these resources.
Thank you for your continued understanding and support as we navigate these evolving circumstances.
Marie Wiles, Ph.D.