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Contact tracing & testing: Questions & answers

December 22, 2020

Earlier this year, we invited families to watch the video below and learn about contact tracing in our schools.

Here are the questions we received and the answers.

Saratoga County has reported this week that it can no longer sustain its contact tracing protocols because of the spike in cases following Thanksgiving. How does this impact the district’s ability to keep schools open? Would it not be prudent to shift to remote learning until after the Christmas break to minimize risk to your staff and students during this spike?

Contact tracing is continuing for any case related to schools. We will be assisting them and following all protocols for it.

How many positive cases before the district shuts down?

The district does not have a specific number of cases to reach that trigger a building closure. We would make a decision to close a building based on the number of people that are affected by illness or quarantine. If the district is placed into a cluster, we can perform tests and understand our district’s positivity rate. This overall positivity rate would also be part of a decision to close all of the district’s schools.

Can you please share the percentage of each school’s population that consented to be tested?

We did not track it this way. However, we have more than the number of students and staff members to meet the requirements for each building.

Will parents be able to be present for testing? My daughter is in kindergarten and agreed to do it if her father or I were there.

If we need to test all the buildings, there will be an opportunity for drive-up testing so parents can be with their students.

Sounds like the testing will be rapid testing? Is that accurate enough?

Yes, that is what the state’s department of health has determined to be best the for schools. We realize that they are not recommended for people who are showing symptoms. But since our staff and students will have no symptoms for testing, these are what are suggested.

Now that Saratoga County Public Health Services is not required to contact trace all positive cases, how can you ensure student and staff safety when there will now be more of a risk of positive cases coming into the schools?

They will be contact tracing all cases that related to schools. They will also be using virtual contact tracers to assist with this. School personnel collect all of the information and shares it with the county.

How many students per school need to test positive before the school has to move 100% virtual?

There is not a set number. It is based on the contact tracing that happens and the number of students and staff are required to quarantine.

When rapid testing begins, will fellow students who are in line or the general area of the group getting tested be quarantined if someone being tested in that group tests positive?

During testing, we will have no one within 6 feet of each other. No one getting tested will be in the testing area for more than 5 minutes so no quarantine would take place because of testing.

If a non-symptomatic student tests positive from a rapid test at school, can a 2nd test from say urgent care be taken for second opinion?

It can be. However, the student would be required to stay out of school for the 10 days, or if a doctor clears them, we would work our school physician to clear the student as well. Most errors on rapid tests are false negatives.

Category: District News