DOH changes COVID-19 reporting, return-to-school protocols

  • The New York State Department of Health has updated its guidance related to student and staff attendance for those who are symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19. 

    There also have been changes to the way school districts in New York state report confirmed and possible cases of COVID-19 to the state’s online dashboard.

    Return to school protocols

    As you know, everyone who enters our school buildings is being asked to screen for possible COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are ill are asked to stay home. We wanted to clarify what needs to happen before students and staff can return to school after falling ill or showing COVID-19 symptoms. 

    If a student or employee has shown symptoms of the coronavirus, one of the following must take place before that person can return to school: 

    • Your health-care provider gives you a conclusive diagnosis of something other than COVID-19; 
    • You test negative for COVID-19; or 
    • You are released from isolation by the Department of Health. 

    Students and employees will be asked to provide documentation from a health care provider of an alternative diagnosis, or a negative COVID test result. 

    Anyone who is symptomatic for 48 hours and does not receive an alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID test result will be isolated by the Department of Health. 

    We are aware that these protocols may present challenges for some families, but please know that these protocols are not simply school or district policy. Only the Health Department has the power to release individuals from isolation, which would then allow them to return to the school.   

    The following Department of Health flowcharts can assist families in navigating the protocols:

     

    Reporting to the state dashboard

    All schools in New York state, including the General Brown Central School District are required to submit a daily report to the state of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to a school. The COVID-19 Report Card is available to the public on the New York State Department of Health website and includes daily case statistics from schools throughout the state. 

    General Brown is required to report not only confirmed positive COVID cases connected to the school, but also any instance where someone (such as a student or employee) has shown symptoms of the coronavirus for at least 48 hours, but has not been tested or has not received a conclusive alternative diagnosis within that time. The district will be in communication with the county health department in these cases.

    In addition, the state dashboard includes a number that is an estimate of “Lab Reported Positives based on Residential Address” as part of its school COVID Report Card. This estimate may differ from the number of cases that are directly related to the school district, and may include students who reside within the district, but do not attend General Brown schools. Individual school data on the dashboard is listed separately below this estimated number. 

    The state’s online dashboard can be found here.

    District administrators appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as General Brown implements these changes in protocol.

    Questions and concerns can be directed to the district office at 315-779-2300.