In order to provide additional support for families and students, we are preparing to offer a new “Return to Class” testing option for eligible students beginning Monday, February 14th. This will allow eligible students who begin experiencing mild symptoms during the school day to stay in school if they test negative for COVID-19. (If symptomatic at home, students should be tested at home and should not be sent to school to be tested.)
We have pursued this option due to concerns over the loss of instructional time which occurs when students are sent home from school with mild symptoms that are not the result of COVID-19. Per NYSDOH rules, if your child has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 at school, we must follow the “Return to School” guidelines from the Erie County Department of Health. In summary, your child needs one of the following to return to school:
- A negative COVID-19 (PCR or Antigen) test
- Alternate diagnosis from a healthcare provider
- Quarantine for 5 days from symptom onset. In order to return, symptoms must be improving and child must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
We recognize this can be a burden for our families and teachers, especially in cases when a student eventually tests negative and the symptoms are a result of a common illness and not COVID-19. When a child is sent home, it can take several days before a parent can take time off work to visit a healthcare or testing provider that may not have immediate available appointments. In many cases, students are waiting at home for several days as a result of mild symptoms and eventually test negative for COVID-19.
We have acquired antigen tests from New York State and the Erie County Department of Health which we will use for the new Return to Class Testing option. We will provide this option as long as we have the available supplies to do so, or as long as COVID-19 return-to-school requirements necessitate negative testing.
Health and safety continue to be our top priority and Ken-Ton nurses are doing a phenomenal job managing symptomatic students at school. This new option will minimize the loss of instructional time for students with mild symptoms who are not infected with the virus while also ensuring that any students who test positive are isolated and sent home.
- Who is Eligible: Symptomatic students who begin developing symptoms during the school day and are sent down to the nurse’s office with mild symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, but would otherwise not necessitate the student being sent home. Examples of such symptoms include but are not limited to mild runny nose, minor headache, mild sore throat, mild stomachache.
- Who is Not Eligible: Students who are symptomatic before coming to school (these students should be tested at home and not be sent to school to be tested) and students who are sent down to the nurse’s office with moderate symptoms of any illness, whose symptoms impair their ability to remain at school during the school day. Examples of such symptoms include but are not limited to vomiting, fever, moderate to severe sore throat, or severe headache.
- Parental Consent Required: Parents must consent to testing prior to any child participating in this program. Any time a child is determined to be eligible to participate, parents will be contacted by phone. At his time, the nurse will confirm consent and will provide additional information if necessary. If the student tests positive, the parent will be contacted again and requested to bring the child home.