COVID-19 Testing Q&A

Updated: Jan. 8, 2020

Why is the district preparing to test students and staff for COVID-19?

The state’s micro-cluster strategy, announced this fall, required school-based testing for schools to stay open for in-person learning. More recently, at a press conference on Monday, Jan. 5, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that schools in counties with COVID-19 positivity rates greater than 9% are testing and if their rates are below that of the community, they can stay open.

Has our area been designated as one of the areas where testing is required due to positivity rates?

We have received no information about this as of Jan. 5, but we do anticipate the likelihood based on local positivity rates. At present, we are awaiting more information about requirements and guidance for testing as it relates to our schools.

What type of testing will this be?

Based on existing guidance, we anticipate that the testing will be BinaxNow rapid testing, which is a minimally invasive shallow swab test.

Will everyone be tested?

Not necessarily. It may be that a certain percentage of the in-person population needs to be tested. At this time, we are awaiting more detailed guidance, including as it relates to participation requirements.

Are students and staff members who are all-remote part of the testing?

No. All-remote students and employees will not be tested and should not complete the consent form.

Who is involved with the testing process?

We are working with our school nurses and partners at the Capital Region BOCES.

Where and when will the testing take place?

Testing will take place in a designated area in each school. As soon as we know the timing of the tests we will communicate that information.

Can parents be there while their child(ren) are being tested?

Because of the need to maintain social distancing and limit visitors in school, this will not be possible.

When will results of the tests be available?

Individual results for the minimally invasive, short-swab nasal tests are read 15 minutes after the test is administered.

What happens if the results are positive for an individual?

We will notify the family and the student will go home from school and referred for follow-up with their medical provider.  In the event of positive results, we will follow all of our current protocols regarding working with public health partners regarding contract tracing and quarantining.

Will my child’s personal information be handled appropriately within the provisions of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?

Yes.