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Update from Superintendent Pero on COVID-19 Testing

Dear Families and Colleagues,

In an effort to support the health and wellness of our students and staff, PCSD has volunteered to administer COVID-19 rapid tests (non-invasive tests) to 20% of students and staff members who choose to volunteer across all nine of our schools and support offices, including central offices, transportation, food service and maintenance departments.

Given our regional infection rate is averaging at or around nine percent, I see this as a prudent time to re-administer COVID-19 rapid tests, but this time we will test across all grade levels and around the District. You may recall that we administered 1,200 tests in November in less than one week at the secondary schools only and this yielded zero positive results.

Testing for volunteer students and staff members will begin as early as January 19 and will conclude the week of February 1. Twenty percent of our in-person students and staff equates to approximately 1,200 tests. The testing and subsequent results will serve as a scanning tool to assess the extent of exposure to COVID-19 across the District.

The testing process we have prepared is intended to be stress-free. To put this in perspective, Thornell Road Elementary has 366 students that attend in-person. Twenty percent of this student population is approximately 73 students. Seventy-three students divided by six grade levels (K-5) equates to about 12 volunteer students per grade level. I share this to illustrate how very manageable this is and should not entail lines of students waiting or a disruption to the learning environment.

Our testing process is as follows:

Selection of those who will be tested: Principals will select a proportionate amount of students within each grade, based on families that previously provided consent. Principals will then email those families with the date, location and time of the test. In the event that you no longer give consent, you can reply to the email and another student will be selected. Principals will develop a consent and selection process for staff as well.

Test Results: Once tested, students and staff will not wait for the results. They will return to class/assignment. Test results will be available onsite and within 15 minutes. We will not be notifying those with a negative test result.

If a student or staff member’s test comes back positive, they will be isolated, a student’s parent/guardian will be notified and the student will be sent home. PCSD has an obligation to report all positive tests to the Monroe County Department of Public Health so they can reach out to those who have tested positive. Notification will certainly be done in a sensitive manner should it become necessary. We will not be testing any students or staff members that have received a positive COVID-19 test within the last 90 days.

Next steps:

  1. Building principals will select a proportionate amount of students per grade from families that gave consent.
  2. Principals will email the families of each selected student to verify that they still give consent. Included in this email, principals will also share the date, location and approximate time of the test. In the event consent is no longer given, additional student volunteers will be selected, prompting an email to those families.
  3. Results will be uploaded to the NYS reporting site and shared with the Monroe County Department of Public Health.
  4. As usual, weekly updates about confirmed positive cases will be communicated to all staff and families.

Thank you for your ongoing support as we navigate this crisis. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your school principal for assistance.

Be well.

Sincerely,

Michael Pero
Superintendent of Schools