Following the announcement that masks will no longer be required in schools or on school buses in areas with a low or medium COVID-19 community level, the NYS Department of Health has issued updated guidance to schools regarding masking, social distancing, symptomatic individuals, quarantines, and testing. Below is a summary regarding the new guidance and associated FAQ that went into effect March 2, 2022.
Q: Do I have to wear a mask on the bus or in any part of the school?
A: No. Students or staff are not required to wear a mask on our buses or in the school buildings effective March 2, but may still choose to do so.
Q: Will a person be required to wear a mask if they test positive and return to school on “Day 6”?
A: Yes. Individuals returning to school after completing 5 days of isolation are required to mask in school and in indoor public spaces on Days 6-10.
Q: If a person is exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, do they have to wear a mask and/or quarantine?
A: Exposed individuals should mask in school and while in indoor public spaces for 10 days after exposure. Exposure is not a reason to remove an individual from the classroom setting or school. Exposed individuals, regardless of vaccination status, may remain in school by appropriately wearing a well-fitting mask and undergoing recommended testing and may participate in school-based extracurricular activities. These individuals also may continue to ride the school bus.
Q: What if a person wants to wear a mask only in certain areas where there are lots of people, but not in others? Do they have that option?
A: Yes. Although masks are not required by the state or county as of March 2, students, staff, and visitors may still choose to wear a mask at any time.
Q: If students in a classroom choose to wear a mask, will the teacher and other staff also wear a mask?
A: Teachers and staff will have the choice of wearing a mask, but this will not be required.
Q: If a parent wants a child to wear a mask during the day, will staff reinforce this?
A: Parents should discuss this with their child and set their expectations. While staff will assist where they can, this is not something that the district will expect of our staff members.
Q: Will social distancing still be required?
A: There are no changes to the social distancing protocols currently in place at this time. While 6 feet remains the recommended distance when masks are not being worn, there is nothing in the new guidance that would require a school to reconfigure its physical spaces to accommodate 6 feet of distance between students. As a result, the cafeteria configurations in school buildings will remain the same as they have been since the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Q: If I am immunocompromised and not comfortable having my child in school when others are not wearing a mask, will a remote option be made available?
A: The District is not providing a remote option this year unless a student tests positive for COVID-19, which has been protocol for the 2021-22 school year thus far.
Q: As a student, if I am uncomfortable during the day with others not wearing a mask, what can I do?
A: Please feel very comfortable seeking out and speaking with your school counselor about this. After wearing masks in school for two years, we know there will be an adjustment period and students and staff may feel anxious about being in this “new” environment. Our building principals and staff will always be readily available to speak with students if they seek support.
Q: If my student is symptomatic, will they be required to provide a negative test before returning to school?
A: Symptomatic individuals, regardless of vaccination status or recent infection, should stay home until tested. If positive or not tested, the person should isolate for 5 days, or until other criteria are met for school attendance:
- Not have a runny nose or cough
- Be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications
Q: If my child is sent to the nurse’s office because they are symptomatic for the COVID-19 virus, what occurs?
A: With parent consent, that student can be tested in school, and if negative, return to class. If the parent does not consent for testing, the student will be sent home with a test kit.
Q: If my child is exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, do they have to test before returning to school?
A: If the individual is not fully vaccinated and attending or working at school after an exposure, frequent testing (e.g., daily, every other day, at least twice within 5 days) from the date of the exposure (Day 0) through at least day 5 should be strongly considered and encouraged. Testing is NOT required for individuals with lab-confirmed COVID-19 within the past 3 months; they do not need to get tested unless they develop symptoms.
Q: Do unvaccinated faculty and staff still have to test weekly for COVID-19?
A: Yes. The Emergency regulation requiring this was reauthorized on March 1, 2022.
Q: If students are not wearing masks in the classroom and a student tests positive, will all unmasked students be required to quarantine?
A: No. Exposed individuals should mask in school and while in indoor public spaces for 10 days after exposure. The guidance also states that exposure is not a reason to remove an individual from the classroom setting or school.
Q: Will the district continue the Test-To-Stay program if my child is exposed to a positive case?
A: This is a Saratoga County-based program and we do not yet have information as to whether this will be continued. Please check back to this site as the answers will be updated as new information becomes available.
Q: If my child tests positive for COVID and is able to return after day 5 of quarantine, will they be required to wear a mask for days 6-10?
A: Yes. Individuals returning to school after completing 5 days of isolation are required to mask in school and in indoor public spaces on days 6-10.
Q: Will my child still have to have an assigned seat on the bus now that the mask mandate has been lifted?
A: Yes. Because the NYSDOH Guidance published on March 1, 2022 still encourages districts to contact trace, it is important for us to maintain our seating plans.