Guidelines for Reported Cases

A Message from the Superintendent
Posted on 01/17/2021

The Hoosic Valley Central School District (HVCSD) has been working closely with the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDOH) during the COVID 19 pandemic. HVCSD has been following guidelines and protocols when we have a positive case reported in one of our buildings. We determine who may have been exposed to the person who has tested positive based on distance and time. We then relay our findings to the RCDOH who make the final decision as to who has to go into mandated quarantine. The protocols and guidelines have changed since the beginning of school. They also change frequently.

  • Any student/staff member who has direct (close) contact with a person who has tested positive will be placed in mandated quarantine as directed by the RCDOH.
  • A student/staff member who is six (6) feet or more from the person who has tested positive and is in the same air space for more than one (1) hour will be placed in mandated quarantine directed by the RCDOH.
  • There are some scenarios where the RCDOH has mandated students/staff to be quarantined even if they are six (6) feet apart and for less than one (1) hour. The RCDOH makes the final decision. This is where different scenarios arise.

With that, I would like to update some of the guidance and protocols. Some of them have changed and some have not.

A close contact is a person who is less than six (6) feet away and not wearing a mask. If a masked person is less than six (6) feet away for more than fifteen (15) minutes they are considered a close contact. If a student/staff member is wearing a mask and is six (6) feet away for over one (1) hour, then the student/staff member is to be quarantined.

Each scenario is carefully evaluated by the HVCSD COVID coordinator, the school nurses, the building Principals and the contact tracers at the RCDOH. A list of close contacts is then filed with the RCDOH and those individuals are placed in mandatory quarantine by the RCDOH. Each quarantined individual is emailed instructions and will be contacted by phone from a staff member from the HVCSD outreach team. The outreach team will review the instructions and dates of the mandated quarantine. The RCDOH makes the final decision as to who is to be quarantined based on the questions they ask the HVCSD administrative team.

There has been recent changes in the quarantine guidelines. As mentioned, if a student/staff member has been identified as a close contact with a positive COVID 19 case at HVCSD then they would be mandated to quarantine. The mandated quarantine will be managed by the HVCSD COVID coordinator in conjunction with the RCDOH.

HVCSD has a trained outreach team that will call those in mandated quarantine every day to monitor any new or worsening symptoms during isolation. A member of this outreach team is assigned as the case manager. This person is a designated contact for any reason pertinent to the specific case. A family or staff member may opt out of receiving a daily phone call from the case worker by completing the health questionnaire online each morning including Saturday and Sunday before ten (10) am. When doing the health questionnaire during this time the questionnaire should be answered (yes) for being contact of a positive COVID person. If the questionnaire is not completed on any given day, the case manager will check in by telephone. If a student/staff member becomes symptomatic during this time, they then will be contacted by one of the HVCSD school nurses. The school nurse determines whether a student/staff member should be referred to their primary care physician for COVID 19 testing.

Siblings or other individuals residing in the home of a quarantined person can come to school and go about their daily lives. However, if the quarantined person becomes symptomatic, siblings and other household members should not come to school until they receive a negative COVID 19 test result or complete quarantine. The case manager will reach out every day to the quarantined person to see if they are symptomatic.

At the outset, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYDOH) said the quarantine period would be fourteen (14) days. Both the CDC and NYSDOH have now determined that the quarantine period is ten (10) days provided the person never showed symptoms during those ten (10) days. That would be reported to the case worker or through the daily health questionnaire.

The RCDOH has changed their protocol in relation to physical education classes. They say that if students/staff members do not have direct, close contact with positive cases in the gymnasium and were in the gymnasium for less than one hour, they would not have to be quarantined. They changed this protocol based on experiences from other school districts throughout the county and state.

Students having lunch in the cafeteria are treated the same way as in the classroom. If they are less than six (6) feet apart for fifteen (15) minutes or more, with a mask, they will need to be quarantined. If they are six (6) feet apart and masked and in the cafeteria less than one hour, they do not have to be quarantined.

Teachers and staff members should be having their lunch alone or in large spaces where they can be more than six (6) feet apart for less than one (1) hour.

All staff meetings should be virtual to prevent possible spreading and lessen the chances of any of our buildings being closed due to multiple teachers being quarantined.
A quarantined individual cannot return to school unless released by the RCDOH

NOTE: All of these updates have been changed in each pertinent protocol in the HVCSD reopening plan. New protocols have also been added.

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