Dear Schuylerville families,
As we continue to prepare to reopen our schools this fall, the district has worked to implement many health and safety protocols to protect our students and staff. There are guidelines that the health offices will need to follow implicitly, including sending children home with signs and symptoms of COVID-19. We ask that parents have plans in place should they receive a call to pick up a child from school. While we realize travel time from some individuals’ workplaces can be up to an hour or more, students cannot be waiting in the health offices for that amount of time waiting for pick up. Our guidelines to send students home come directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our school physician, Dr. Robert Nielson.
Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can include but are not inclusive to:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea, stomach pain or vomiting
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Per current guidelines confirmed by the Department of Health, if a student presents any of the above listed symptoms, or any symptoms of any viral infection including viruses such as conjunctivitis, they will need to be sent home. The exception to this will be if a student has a known chronic medical condition that is already being managed by a health care provider such as allergies, migraine headache, menstrual disorders, irritable bowel, etc. Documentation should be on file in the school health office. We encourage you to reach out to your pediatrician to provide the school nurse with documentation of a pre-existing condition. Students do not need to have more than one symptom to be sent home.
As of Sept. 14: Siblings of a symptomatic sibling will not be sent home unless there is a high probability of COVID-19.
What is a “high probability”?
- The person has been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- The person has a loss of taste/smell
Keeping children home
If you or your children are not feeling well or have a fever of 100 degrees or more, please keep them home. In addition, please do not provide them with medication to reduce symptoms/fever and then send them to school. That medication will wear off and you will be called to pick your children up. In addition, you could be notified to pick up your student if they are exposed to a potential case of COVID, even if they do not have symptoms. Any individual who has come in close contact with someone testing positive may need to quarantine for 14 days at home. Many children may be able to infect others early in the disease but are asymptomatic and COVID-19 tests are not necessarily accurate in people without symptoms. Contacts of positive individuals may need to quarantine for 14 days at home.
The district’s health offices will need to implement the following actions for students who present any sign/symptom of COVID-19. These guidelines have been sent forth by the CDC, NYSED, public health and guidance from the district’s school physician, Dr. Nielson. They are non-negotiable. If a student is kept home or sent home from school with any viral sign/symptoms of COVID-19, they will need to be evaluated by a healthcare provider, tested for COVID-19 with an approved nasal swab test and achieve the following to return:
- No fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines for more than 24 hours, and an improvement in symptoms.
- Diagnosed with another condition and have a healthcare provider written note stating they are clear to return to school. The note should include a management plan if the symptoms reoccur (allergy or asthma treatment plan, migraine headache medicine, anxiety medicine, bowel, or menstrual medicine, etc.)
- Schools must follow CDC guidance for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If a person is not diagnosed with COVID-19 and has a negative nasal swab PCR test, they can return to school.
At this time, NYS guidelines state that even if a student is diagnosed with an alternative diagnosis (i.e. strep throat), a COVID-19 test must be obtained and be negative. These guidelines continue to be under review on a regular weekly basis and may change in the future. If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on a positive COVID test, you will be contacted by public health with guidance on how to manage persons in your home as well as others that may have come in contact with the infected individual. This is to help you in making sure that you have necessary food and medical supplies at home, as well as reducing the spread of the virus.
Expect the following if your child tests positive for COVID-19:
- Staying in the home for at least ten days since the individual first had symptoms and at least 24 hours since the individual had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine)
Medications in school
The school health offices will not be providing over the counter medications anymore. A note from the primary care physician documenting a chronic issue and the need for over the counter medications will be required, along with a parent note providing permission for the medication. The medication must be brought to school from home in new, unopened bottles. In addition, in support of not spreading respiratory viruses during this school year, we have asked all students who require inhaled asthma medications to receive them by inhaler with a spacer rather than a nebulizer. If your doctor orders a nebulizer, we will be contacting him to help obtain support in teaching your child to use a spacer device. The other option may be to do the nebulizer treatment outside of the school building. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Allergy support the idea that all children by the time they reach kindergarten, should be able to manage inhaled medication with a spacer device. If your child has a condition that absolutely requires the use of a nebulizer, we recommend considering a remote learning environment rather than in person for this school year.
As a baseline, face masks/coverings will be required to be worn at all times. Face masks/coverings can be removed for meals. Additional mask breaks will be scheduled, while maintaining social distancing measures. For every 40 minute block of time, students will be given a 10 minute mask break at a minimum. The health offices will work with students and their primary care physicians if they feel unable to wear a mask based on CDC guidelines:
- Severe respiratory condition and diagnosis
- Incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance
- Choking hazard
- Severe anxiety or claustrophobia
All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:
- Be made with at least two layers of breathable material
- Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
- Fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the person to remain hands-free
Based on updated guidance, neck gaiters are acceptable face coverings.
The following will not be allowed: bandanas, masks with valves/holes, or mesh coverings.
Although young people, in general, have less severe COVID-19 symptoms, if students have a condition that makes them more vulnerable for severe disease (diabetes, immunocompromised, severe asthma, or medically unable to tolerate mask wear) then parents should consider a remote learning track.
We appreciate your cooperation with these important health and safety protocols. Please contact the school district with any questions or concerns.
Elementary School Nurse
Elementary School Nurse
Middle School Nurse
High School Nurse
Dr. Robert Nielson
Schuylerville CSD Physician