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PCSD Implementation Plan for NYSDOH Mask-Optional Guidance (March 2, 2022)

Returning from isolation after testing positive for COVID-19:

  • Masking continues to be required upon return from isolation during days 6 through 10 after COVID-19 infection. The building nurse will communicate this expectation to families.

Exposure:

  • The exception allowing 3-feet of distance to determine exposure in schools does not apply to unmasked individuals, nor does it apply to teachers, staff, or other adults regardless of masking. This means that in settings where masks are not worn, anyone within a 6-foot radius of an infected person should be considered exposed. This “zone of exposure” does not mean schools should rearrange the physical footprint or space students six feet apart. Families with children of known exposures will be notified and take home tests will be provided upon consent.

  • NYS school guidance no longer requires people who were exposed to someone with COVID-19 to be automatically excluded from school. Families will be notified of exposure, asked to monitor for symptoms and encouraged to test their child(ren) on Day 5. 

  • Masking, regardless of vaccination status, is strongly recommended for 10 days after a known exposure.

  • Testing on Day 5 after exposure is strongly recommended to detect infection among individuals identified as exposed or potentially exposed; identification of exposed individuals may be simplified by using group rather than individual assessments. Notification will be sent to families in grades K-5 whenever one or more individual(s) tests positive in the classroom. Notification will be sent in grades 6-12 to families based on the schedule of the individual that tested positive.

Symptomatic students/staff:

  • Symptomatic students and staff must produce a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test before returning to school. PCSD home tests will be made available and negative test results will be accepted for a return to school.

  • At this time, symptomatic students who decline to be tested must be excluded from school for at least 5 days following onset of symptoms and until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms are improving. After returning to school, they must wear a mask for days 6-10. Students who refuse to wear a mask on days 6-10 will need to remain home for the full ten days.

General masking:

  • Masking is no longer required on school buses or vans. Individuals who are required to wear masks in school should wear masks on school transport

  • NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) recommends students, staff and teachers wear masks when:

    • They feel more comfortable wearing a mask for personal reasons.

    • They were in the same room within the school as someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer and were thus exposed or potentially exposed, when group contact tracing is used (see below).

    • They are known to have been exposed to COVID-19 in any setting within the previous 10 days.

    • They are moderately-to-severely immunocompromised and have discussed the need to mask with their healthcare provider(s).

Notification:

To protect themselves and others and stop the spread of COVID-19 in the household and community, schools should notify, through either group or individual level contact tracing, affected school staff, students, and their parents/guardians whenever an individual:

  1. Was in the same room as an infected individual and so was exposed or potentially exposed (i.e., unmasked in the same classroom as an infected individual for longer than 15 minutes), if schools are employing group level contact tracing, or

  2. Was identified as being exposed because they were a close contact of an infected individual, if schools are employing individual level contact tracing.

PCSD will notify grades K-5 families anytime there is one or more positive cases in a classroom or at their lunch table. 

PCSD will notify grades 6-12 families if one or more positive cases exist in any of your child’s classes.  Individual contact tracing will occur during lunch.

Potential notification:  PCSD will use the below template for notification

A student in your child’s class has tested positive for COVID-19.  It is possible that your child may have been exposed.  If your child does not regularly wear a well-fitted mask at school, the NYSDOH recommends the following:

  • Masking, regardless of vaccination status, is strongly recommended for 10 days

  • Testing on Day 5 after exposure is strongly recommended (tests can be acquired from the main office of your child’s school if needed)

Please watch for symptoms and keep your child at home if they develop any of the following: Fever over 100.5 or chills, Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Fatigue, Muscle or body aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Congestion or runny nose, Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea.

As we enter this next phase, our community’s individual status with vaccination rates (which are Monroe County’s highest) and hospital admissions will be important factors that will influence how we will respond to future experiences with the pandemic. We will continue to work closely with the Monroe County Department of Public Health to make informed decisions that prioritize the health and well-being of our students, staff and community. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

NYSDOH Complete School Guidance here:  https://www.pittsfordschools.org/cms/lib/NY02205365/Centricity/Domain/2205/NYSDOH%20Interim%20School%20Guidance%2003.01.22.pdf

NYSDOH School Guidance FAQ’s here:  https://www.pittsfordschools.org/cms/lib/NY02205365/Centricity/Domain/2205/NYSDOH%20School%20Guidance%20FAQs%20for%20Schools_03.01.22.pdf

NYSDOH/NYSED Joint Mask Guidance here:  https://www.pittsfordschools.org/cms/lib/NY02205365/Centricity/Domain/2205/NYSDOH_NYSED%20Joint%20Mask%20Guidance_03.01.22.pdf

March 1 letter to families and FAQs: https://www.pittsfordschools.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=2057&ModuleInstanceID=59565&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=131192&PageID=23731