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COVID-19 Symptom Screenings and Testing

Jump to:  Screenings  |  Testing/Positive Cases  |  FAQs
 

Symptom Screenings

The CDC no longer recommends a daily screener, thus we suspended the use of our daily COVID-19 screenings for students and staff. The ICSD does, however, remind families and staff regularly to check for symptoms before reporting to school or work each day.

Students and staff experiencing any of the following symptoms must stay home:

  • 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
  • Diarrhea
Parents and Caregivers: We ask that you please complete the ICSD Health Screening Acknowledgement Form to confirm that you have reviewed this information and understand your role in supporting the school community by keeping your child/ren home from school if they have one or more symptoms of COVID-19.
 

 
 

COVID-19 Testing and Positive Cases

ICSD School-Based Testing

The ICSD is offering school-based COVID-19 testing during the 2021-22 school year to support the health of our school community by reducing the risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Our testing program consists of two different types of COVID-19 testing: screening testing and symptomatic testing. Both types of COVID-19 tests are provided at no cost, and participation is voluntary.

  • Screening Testing: The ICSD is partnering with Concentric by Ginko, a federally contracted organization, to offer weekly screening testing (formerly "surveillance testing") for students. This type of testing is used to understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in our school community, identify asymptomatic individuals, and inform decision-making on district health and safety protocols and practices.

  • Symptomatic Testing: The ICSD, in affiliation with Cayuga Health System, is also offering symptomatic testing for students who become unwell at school. Swabbing occurs before the symptomatic individual leaves campus, and the test result is available afterward. This is an anterior nares sample (swab at the front of each nostril, not far-reaching up the nasal cavity) that students can administer themselves or with the help of a nurse.

Learn more about our screening testing program at ithacacityschools.org/testing.

 
Free Testing for Tompkins County Residents

Free COVID-19 diagnostic testing is available for any Tompkins County resident through Cayuga Health System, and costs are covered without the requirement of being medically necessary.

Cayuga Health operates a drive-through screening site at the Shops at Ithaca Mall, 40 Catherwood Road, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Appointments are required and hours may vary. Visit the Cayuga Health System website for the most up-to-date information.


COVID-19 Antigen Test Kits

In February and March, the Ithaca City School District distributed COVID-19 antigen test kits, provided to us by New York State, to all students and staff. Each kit includes two tests. Click here to view our guidance on when to use the at-home test.

 
Positive Cases in the School Community

As individuals test positive for COVID-19 through PCR or antigen testing, the individual should isolate and follow all protocols outlined by the Tompkins County Health Department.

The ICSD reports COVID-19 cases for students, teachers, and staff to the NYSDOH every day that school is in session. Cases confirmed on weekends and during school closures or recesses are reported the next school day. Visit the NYS COVID-19 School Report Card and select an individual school to get all reported positives and a breakdown of school-based testing.

 
Returning to School/Work

Please review the protocols linked below for guidance on when students and staff may return to school/work after experiencing symptoms, being exposed to someone with COVID-19, or testing positive:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When can students and staff return after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, being exposed to a positive case, or testing positive themselves?
What happens if a student or employee develops symptoms related to COVID-19 during the school day?
Does the district require testing of students and staff?
How can students/staff get tested outside of school?
Does the district notify families and staff if a student or employee tests positive?
What happens when an in-person class or group of students and teachers transition to distance learning?
 
When can students and staff return after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, being exposed to a positive case, or testing positive themselves?

The date on which students and employees can return to school/work depends on their risk factors (symptoms, known exposures, test results, etc.). Please review our Protocol for Students Returning to School and our Protocol for Staff Returning to Work for details.


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 and/or other signs of illness will be directed to a dedicated isolation area. Before being picked up or otherwise sent home, a sample will be collected from the symptomatic individual through our school-based testing programs.


Does the district require testing of students and staff?

Our school-based testing programs are voluntary for students. A parent/guardian must provide consent in order for their child(ren) to participate. We strongly encourage providing consent for testing, as it is non-invasive and can support community health.

As of September 2, 2021, New York State mandates that all school personnel submit weekly COVID-19 test results, or opt-out of this requirement through proof of vaccination. The ICSD is complying with this requirement.


How can students/staff get tested outside of school?

Free COVID-19 diagnostic testing is available for any Tompkins County resident through Cayuga Health System, and costs are covered without the requirement of being medically necessary. Cayuga Health operates a drive-through screening site at the Shops at Ithaca Mall, 40 Catherwood Road, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Appointments are required and hours may vary. Visit the Cayuga Health System website for the most up-to-date information.


Does the district notify families and staff if a student or employee tests positive?

As of January 14, 2022, the Tompkins County Health Department, in alignment with NYS Department of Health guidance, suspended contact tracing operations. Consequently, the ICSD no longer calls or emails school communities when positive COVID-19 cases arise. All positive cases are, however, still reported to the New York State COVID-19 Dashboard every day that school is in session.


What happens when an in-person class or group of students and teachers transition to distance learning?

Throughout the year, educators will utilize our digital platforms (SeeSaw, GoogleClassroom in elementary, Canvas in secondary), and be sure to have GoogleMeet links for students to access when and if there are situations that require any amount of distance learning. 

We are prepared for 4 possible modes of learning this year, as temporary situations arise, including when individuals are sick, awaiting test results, in isolation, etc. For more information, view our Supporting Virtual Learning During the 2021-2022 School Year document.