The district is committed to as much transparency and information sharing as possible with regard to COVID-19 in our school community. We are in regular contact with our county health departments and, in the event of a positive case, we will work closely with the local health department to provide all necessary information to aid in contact tracing efforts. (Our district includes parts of three counties, Albany, Saratoga and Schenectady.) This is exactly what took place last week as we worked with Schenectady County Public Health Services in light of the positive case within the Rosendale School community.
Notifying our Community of Positive Cases
In the event of a positive case among Niskayuna Central School District students or staff members, we will issue an email notification to all employees and via School Messenger to all families district-wide and to community members who have subscribed to the School Messenger system. (Our practice is to include high school students on School Messenger notices at their school email address.) We will also post the information on our website.
Notification of a positive case will indicate the school the individual is connected to. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other privacy laws restrict the district from disclosing or confirming any personally identifiable information and we cannot identify anyone who has tested positive.
The local health department will reach out to all contacts of an individual confirmed to have COVID-19 and advise on the need to quarantine and arrange testing for those exposed.
We will not be issuing any COVID-19 notifications until we have received confirmation from a public health department.
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 Report Card
As part of its efforts to ensure that New Yorkers have timely information, the New York State DOH has launched an online COVID-19 Report Card that provides information about cases connected to schools and institutes of higher education. Our school district submits information daily to the state for this report card, or “dashboard.”
It is important to note that in addition to school districts, COVID-19 cases are also being reported to the state directly by labs. For this reason, there could be a case reported on the dashboard that either the district is unaware of or has not yet been verified with us by the county department of health.
Additionally, labs report cases by student address, which means a case among a student who does not attend a district school (e.g. a home school, private or parochial school student), could appear in the district’s dashboard in a column titled, “Lab Reported Positives based on Residential Address.”
We continue to emphasize that we will notify our community directly once we receive confirmation from the county health department of a student or staff member diagnosed with COVID-19.
Health & Safety Precautions
We continue to encourage all members of our school community to follow precautions so that we can continue with our reopening plan for teaching and learning and to promote health and safety in our community as a whole. This includes:
- Practicing safe social distancing at all times;
- Wearing a mask in public, especially when social distancing is not possible; and
- Staying home when not feeling well.