Upcoming COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

The Rensselaer County Health Department will be hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics this summer throughout the county. The vaccine is free and walk-ins are welcome. Clinics include: Onderdonk Park, East Greenbush, NY (Tuesday, August 10, 5-7 p.m., J&J); North Greenbush Town Hall, Wynantskill, NY (Sunday, August 22, 5-7 p.m., J&J); Stewart’s Shops, Nassau, NY (Tuesday, August 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Pfizer or J&J). You can also find a COVID-19 vaccine at https://www.vaccines.gov/search

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EDITOR’S NOTE: As of Friday, October 2, 2020, the most up-to-date state requirements are listed here.

Superintendent Jeff Simons sent a letter home to families on Wednesday afternoon that explained state requirements for students returning to school after illness. The letter is posted below.

Dear Families:

I wish to thank you for your communication and cooperation thus far regarding the reopening of our schools and the district’s implementation of NYS required health and safety measures. Our district is fortunate to continue to offer in-person learning to students within our hybrid plan as we monitor and report information regarding COVID-19 cases and any contacts among our students and staff within our school district and region.

The district also continues to contribute to discussions related to school reopening requirements which are occurring in communities across New York State. We are coordinating with other school districts in our region and the county health department as we monitor the implementation of these requirements and adjust plans as required.

At this time, the district wishes to provide to our parents the following information to clarify the implementation of NYS requirements related to (1) Daily Temperature Checks and Mandatory Health Screenings and (2) Return to School Requirements in the event that your child is indicating symptoms of COVID-19.

Daily Temperature Checks and Mandatory Health Screenings

For students of all ages, it is a best practice to ensure the health and safety of students and staff that the required temperature checks and daily health screening be done at home prior to students travelling to school and under the supervision of a parent or guardian. The district is implementing temperature checks when students arrive as an additional precaution. Upon arrival at school, we are also verifying whether or not students completed the mandatory health screening through reports sent to administrators via the electronic screening tool. Students will not be permitted to attend school if the health screening has not been completed.

Return to School Requirements when Students are Symptomatic

Since August, prior to the school reopening, school districts within our region and across New York State have sought further guidance from the New York State Department of Health regarding the requirements that symptomatic students must meet in order to return to school for in person learning. Within our region, in consultation with local county health departments, all schools want to ensure that students with any one of the COVID-19 symptoms listed by CDC are medically cleared before returning to school.

In accordance with the written guidance that is currently available from the NYS Department of Health:

“This return to school protocol shall include, at minimum, documentation from a health care provider following evaluation, negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result, and symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation.”

The requirement of a negative COVID-19 test in order for symptomatic students to return to school is designed to protect the health and safety of all students and staff in compliance with the current written guidance of the New York State Health Department. Should New York State issue additional guidance, we will review our policies and inform parents and staff of any changes related to the return to school requirements.

Parents of students who are symptomatic should ensure that their child’s primary care provider is aware that the school district requires a negative COVID-19 test in order for your child to return to school.

In the interim, as families of students who are symptomatic await the results of a COVID-19 test, students will be provided remote instruction/tutoring services. In such cases, the school principal will contact you in regard to these arrangements.

The district appreciates that these requirements place burdens on students, parents and guardians. We ask for your cooperation and understanding. Any parents and guardians who have difficulties accessing the required medical release or a COVID-19 test should contact the school Principal who will refer the issue to a school nurse, social worker or if needed the district’s medical director.

We have confirmed that Central Med Urgent Care on Central Avenue in Albany does conduct COVID-19 rapid testing for children. No appointment is required, however, it is preferred. Additional information regarding the availability and locations of COVID-19 testing sites can be found at the following link: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you.

Through working together, we will continue to protect the health, safety and well-being of all members of our school community.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Simons
Superintendent of Schools

Return to School After Illness Form