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 receive an email with a link to the daily health screening questionnaire, which they are to complete 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 "yes" to any of the questions on the health screening, their child is not permitted to attend school in person that day. Student Daily COVID-19 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.
When can students and staff return after answering "yes" to any of the questions on the daily health screening?
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.
What happens if a student or employee develops symptoms related to COVID-19 during the school day?
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:
Will the district conduct and/or require testing of students and staff?
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.
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. 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:
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.
- 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.
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.