Jan. 18 update: changes to contact tracing, return to school protocols

A message from Superintendent Wiles:

Dear Guilderland CSD Families,

In a communication to Guilderland Central School District families on Friday, Jan. 14, we indicated new guidance from the New York State Department of Health had been released regarding COVID-19-related protocols and procedures. After thorough examination of the information, the following protocols will take effect Wednesday, Jan. 19.

Changes to contact tracing

NYSDOH will no longer conduct contact tracing. This means that individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 will no longer be contacted by their local department of health. Going forward, GCSD will only conduct contact tracing in a limited and targeted capacity, such as, but not limited to, exposures during lunch, certain high-risk sports or where there are reduced mitigation strategies. GCSD will continue to report positive COVID-19 cases to our community on Tuesdays and Fridays and to the New York State COVID-19 Report Card on a daily basis.

Return to school protocols

If a student has COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status, to return to school they must have one negative nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), lab antigen test, PCR test or two negative at-home, over-the-counter antigen tests taken 36 hours apart. The symptomatic student should stay home for the 36-hour time period between the two antigen tests. To obtain COVID-19 testing, families may utilize the at-home rapid test kits distributed to families last week, visit the GCSD COVID-19 testing location, or another testing site. Families can also order four free at-home COVID-19 tests through the federal government by visiting this site covidtests.gov.

When presenting the district with negative test results, families must also present this attestation, signed by a parent or guardian. Attestation forms will automatically be submitted to your student’s school nurse.

What “fully vaccinated” means

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), students who are “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 are those who have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Students who have received a COVID-19 booster dose are considered “up-to-date”.

If students are experiencing symptoms, they should not attend school

We recognize that the symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to and can overlap with the symptoms of the flu, allergies or even a common cold. Whether or not COVID-19 related, there may be times when a student has symptoms, such as 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. Regardless of whether or not there is a known exposure to COVID-19, it is very important that students who are sick do not attend school. This simple act can go very far in preventing the possible spread of COVID-19 and is in the best interest of the entire GCSD community.

Visit the district website for a comprehensive outline of the new protocols

The information presented here is simply an overview of the COVID-19 protocols. We urge all parents to visit the district website to carefully read all of the details of GCSD’s new COVID-19 protocols.

COVID-19 rapid, at-home test kit distribution

On Friday, Jan. 14, GCSD held a drive-through COVID-19 rapid, at-home test kit distribution. More than 2,000 test kits were distributed to GCSD students. If you were unable to attend on Jan. 14, the district will be releasing information in the coming days regarding follow-up distribution.

COVID-19 cases for Jan. 14-Jan. 18

The information below details the number of new COVID-19 positive cases for Jan. 14-Jan 18. For daily positive COVID-19 cases affecting GCSD, please visit the NYS COVID-19 Report Card.

Altamont Elementary School: 7 new cases
Guilderland Elementary School: 7 new cases
Lynnwood Elementary School: 9 new cases
Pine Bush Elementary School: 10 new cases
Westmere Elementary School: 14 new cases
Farnsworth Middle School: 15 new cases
Guilderland High School: 15 new cases

As always, thank you for your continued patience and support as we navigate this ever-changing landscape.


Marie Wiles, Ph.D.

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