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UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Community Letter Regarding Thanksgiving Travel
2020-2021 Snow Day Policy
School Meal Deliveries Beginning December 2
 
 

COVID-19 Screenings, Testing, and Contact Tracing

Jump to:  Screenings  |  Testing and Contact Tracing  |  FAQs
 

Screenings

All students and staff are required to complete a health screening before reporting to school/work each day. Any visitor that plans on being in a district building for longer than five minutes must also complete a brief screening prior to entering.

Student Screenings
State guidance requires mandatory daily health screenings of students attending school for in-person instruction. The ICSD has licensed the Frontline Health Portal to allow parents/caregivers to conduct their children's daily health screenings on a secure, remote platform before they go to school each morning.

The screening asks questions regarding student testing status, symptoms, exposures, and travel. If you check any of the boxes on the screening for your child, your child must stay home. The date on which your child can then return to school depends on their risk factors, as outlined in our Protocol for Students Returning to School.

Staff Screenings
In conjunction with Cayuga Health, the ICSD developed a daily COVID-19 health screening website that allows employees to easily confirm that they are symptom-free, have not recently tested positive for or been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and have not traveled internationally or from a state on the New York State Travel Advisory list before arriving at work.

Employees that do not complete the daily health screening or who "screen red" are not permitted to report to work, and the date on which they can return depends on their risk factors, as outlined in our Protocol for Staff Returning to Work.

Visitor Screenings
Any visitor that plans on being in a district building for longer than five minutes must complete a brief screening prior to entering. The screening asks for contact information, as well as questions regarding testing, exposure, symptoms, and travel.
 

Testing and Contact Tracing

At this time, the ICSD is neither conducting nor requiring COVID-19 testing of students or staff. As a district, we play a role in identifying those in our school community who have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, and those who have had known or potential exposure to the virus, and in supporting the Tompkins County Health Department with its testing and contact tracing efforts.

Free Testing for Tompkins County Residents
Free COVID-19 testing is currently available for any Tompkins County resident through the Cayuga Health System Sampling Site. County residents are no longer required to meet the previous criteria for free tests.
Positive Cases in the School Community
As cases are confirmed within the ICSD, we will determine the level of closure in consultation with the local health department. “Cohorting” practices (the amount of intermingling among groups) will dictate whether a classroom, grade level, wing of a school building, or entire school will close. Those individuals who test positive will be notified by the Tompkins County Health Department and receive instructions regarding isolation, additional testing, and quarantine. 
Contact Tracing
When an individual tests positive for COVID-19, the local health department immediately begins a contact investigation. If an ICSD student or employee tests positive, we will uphold their right to privacy and confidentiality to the greatest extent possible, while also supporting any contact investigation by the local health department. Unless the health department contacts you or your child, you are not identified as close contacts, and thus, there is a low identifiable risk for contracting COVID-19 and you do not need to quarantine.

Check out our contact tracing infographic and the TCHD's video on contract tracing below to learn more!

contact tracing infographic
Click to enlarge
 

FAQs

How do the staff health screenings work?
In conjunction with Cayuga Health, the ICSD has developed a daily COVID-19 health screening website that allows staff and substitutes to easily confirm that they are symptom-free, have not recently tested positive for or been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and have not traveled internationally or from a state on the New York State Travel Advisory list. Employees that do not complete the daily health screening or who "screen red" are not permitted to report to work. Staff Daily COVID-19 Health Screening>>

How do the student health screenings work?
Every morning, caregivers log in to the Frontline Health Portal desktop or mobile app to complete the daily health screening questionnaire for each of their children before they go to school. (School staff will take the temperature of any student for whom a completed screening is lacking.) If a caregiver answers in the affirmative to any of the questions on the health screening, their child is not permitted to attend school in person that day, and we ask that they contact a health care provider for further direction. Student Daily COVID-19 Health Screening>>

When can students and staff return after answering "yes" to any of the questions on the daily health screening?
The date on which students and employees can return to school/work after answering "yes" to any of the health screening questions depends on their risk factors (symptoms, known exposures, test results, etc.), as outlined in our Protocol for Students Returning to School and our Protocol for Staff Returning to Work.

What happens if a student or employee develops symptoms related to COVID-19 during the school day?
Students and staff who develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 during the school day will be assessed by the school nurse, and those with a temperature of 100.0°F (37.78°C) or higher, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the screening questionnaire will be directed to a dedicated isolation area before being picked up or otherwise sent home.

Will the district conduct and/or require testing of students and staff?
While schools play a role in identifying individuals who have COVID-19 related symptoms or who have had recent known or potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the decision of whether a test needs to be conducted should be determined by a healthcare provider or the local department of health. The ICSD will only mandate that a student be tested for COVID-19 if such testing is consistent with guidance from a healthcare provider and/or the Tompkins County Department of Health. Additionally, we continue to follow CDC guidance, which recommends that schools not conduct surveillance testing:
It is not known if testing in school settings provides any additional reduction in person-to-person transmission of the virus beyond what would be expected with implementation of other infection preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, cloth face covering, hand washing, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting). Therefore, CDC does not recommend universal testing of all students and staff. Implementation of a universal approach to testing in schools may pose challenges, such as the lack of infrastructure to support routine testing and follow up in the school setting, unknown acceptability of this testing approach among students, parents, and staff, lack of dedicated resources, practical considerations related to testing minors and potential disruption in the educational environment. Source: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-testing.html

How can students/staff get tested?
Free COVID-19 testing is currently available for any Tompkins County resident through the Cayuga Health System Sampling Site. County residents are no longer required to meet the previous criteria for free tests. The Sampling Site is located in the parking lot at The Shops at Ithaca Mall, 40 Catherwood Road. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments are required. Visit the Cayuga Health System website for more information. 
 
What if a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19?
If a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, we will uphold their right to privacy and confidentiality to the greatest extent possible, while also supporting any contact investigation by the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD). As partners in this effort, we share information with local health officials so they can communicate with people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. News of a confirmed case may generate anxiety and concern, so it is important to be clear how the Tompkins County Health Department handles communication with individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19: 
  • The health department is notified of any positive cases.
  • The health department conducts a contact investigation by interviewing the person who tested positive in order to identify close contacts.
  • Those close contacts are then notified by nurses from the health department in order to provide support and guidance to them on issues like quarantine and testing.
If the health department does not notify you/your child, then you are not considered a close contact and do not need to quarantine or be tested for COVID-19.

Will the district notify families and staff if a student or employee tests positive?
Yes. The district will communicate with families and staff regarding confirmed cases in our school community. We will not, however, provide identifying information of individuals who are seeking care, undergoing testing, or subject to quarantine.

How will I know if I/my child was exposed to a student or employee that tested positive?
If a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, the Tompkins County Health Department will communicate directly with anyone who is considered a close contact of that individual. Unless the health department contacts you or your child, you are not identified as close contacts, and thus, there is a low identifiable risk for contracting COVID-19. You do not need to quarantine or to be tested for COVID-19.
 
Will schools close if there are positive cases among students or staff?
When a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, we will determine the level of closure in consultation with the Tompkins County Health Department. “Cohorting” practices (the amount of intermingling among groups) will dictate whether a classroom, grade level, wing of a school building, or entire school will close.