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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

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.

ICSD Surveillance Testing Program
On January 4, the Ithaca City School District will begin a voluntary COVID-19 surveillance testing program for students and staff, using a non-invasive form of antigen testing. Although our district has not been identified as a Yellow Zone per the New York State Cluster Action Initiative, we will follow those guidelines and test 20% of in-person students and staff at each school over two-week periods. The testing is not mandatory, and staff/caregiver consent is required.
Free Testing for Tompkins County Residents
Free COVID-19 testing is currently available for any Tompkins County resident through the Cayuga Health System, and residents are no longer required to meet the previous criteria for testing. The Cayuga Health System operates several local sampling site locations:
  • The Shops at Ithaca Mall, 40 Catherwood Road
    Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Downtown, 412 N. Tioga Street
    Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cayuga Medical Center, 101 Dates Drive
    Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Appointments are required. Visit the Cayuga Health System website for more information:
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.

The ICSD reports positive cases for both in-person and distance learners, as well as all staff members, for each of our schools on a daily basis. You may check this information on the NYS COVID-19 School Report Card Dashboard (click on ‘public schools’ and search for 'Ithaca City SD’).

Contact Tracing
When someone 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, you do not need to quarantine.

Anyone who is a contact of someone who has been in close or proximate contact with a positive case is considered a “contact of a contact.” These individuals are not at risk for infection and would not be subject to quarantine unless the individual they had contact with had or developed symptoms, or tested positive. View the NYSDOH Guidance on "Contacts of Contacts" for more information.

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 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 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?
On January 4, the Ithaca City School District will begin a voluntary COVID-19 surveillance testing program for students and staff, using a non-invasive form of antigen testing. Although our district has not been identified as a Yellow Zone per the New York State Cluster Action Initiative, we will follow those guidelines and test 20% of in-person students and staff at each school over two-week periods. The testing is not mandatory, and staff/caregiver consent is required. View our testing program overview and FAQs for more information.

How else can students/staff get tested?
Free COVID-19 testing is currently available for any Tompkins County resident through the Cayuga Health System, and residents are no longer required to meet the previous criteria for testing. The Cayuga Health System operates several local sampling site locations:
  • The Shops at Ithaca Mall, 40 Catherwood Road
    Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Downtown, 412 N. Tioga Street
    Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cayuga Medical Center, 101 Dates Drive
    Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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. For additional information on what to do if you are a "contact of a contact," please review the NYS Department of Health's guidance.

Will the district notify families and staff if a student or employee tests positive?
The district will communicate with families and staff regarding confirmed cases that have had in-school contacts only. When doing so, we will not provide identifying information of individuals who are seeking care, undergoing testing, or subject to quarantine.

The district will not directly notify families or staff of cases that have had no in-school contacts, however, we report all positive cases for both in-person and distance learners, as well as all staff members, for each of our schools on a daily basis.

Those who wish to stay informed about positive cases that have not had any in-school contacts are encouraged to regularly check the NYS COVID-19 School Report Card Dashboard (click on ‘public schools’ and search for 'Ithaca City SD’).

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.
 
What about "contacts of contacts"?
Anyone who is a contact of someone who has been in close or proximate contact with a positive case is considered a “contact of a contact.” These individuals are not at risk for infection and would not be subject to quarantine unless the individual they had contact with had or developed symptoms, or tested positive. View the NYSDOH Guidance on "Contacts of Contacts" for more information.
 
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.