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Guidance on the Use of COVID-19 Antigen Test Kits

New York State has provided all school districts with antigen test kits. This week, the Ithaca City School District is distributing a COVID-19 antigen test kit to all students and staff. Each kit includes two tests. Please see below or click here for guidance on when to use the at-home test.

NOTE: If your child is symptomatic a negative PCR (laboratory) test, or two negative antigen tests taken 48 hours apart, is still required for them to return to school. One negative antigen test will not suffice. 

Click here for translations of the guidance

Test Yourself If...
You have any COVID-19 symptoms Immediately

One negative antigen test does not rule out COVID-19 infection. A negative PCR (laboratory) test is required for returning to school.

You were exposed to someone with COVID-19 At least 5 days after your exposure

If you test negative for COVID-19, consider testing again 2 days after your first test.

You are going to an indoor event or a gathering Immediately before the gathering, or as close to the time of the event as possible

This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe disease, older adults, those who are immunocompromised, or people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.

You have COVID-19 Toward the end of a five-day isolation period

If you test positive, continue isolating until you reach 10 days after your symptoms began. 

If you test negative, you can stop isolating but should wear a mask around others until day 10.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Self-Testing At Home or Anywhere

  • Positive results from self-tests are highly reliable.
  • Negative results from self-tests do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection. A negative self-test result may not be reliable, especially if you have symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • Invalid results from self-tests mean the test did not work properly, and a new test is needed to get an accurate result.

Should your child test positive from a self-administered antigen test, you should:

  • immediately isolate them for 5 days from the positive test result or the onset of symptoms, whichever occurs first;
  • complete and submit this form to report your positive result to the Tompkins County Health; and
  • notify your child’s school. 

If symptoms develop or worsen, contact your healthcare practitioner and seek additional care. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for an additional 5 days following self-isolation.