The virus causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia.
Testing and Tracing Plans
Testing: According to New York State Department of Health: (https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-testing#can-i-be-tested-) As New York State aggressively expands COVID-19 diagnostic testing capacity, the Department of Health has revised guidance to increase testing for frontline workers, including all first responders, health care workers, and essential employees who interact with the public, while continuing to prioritize resources. Testing for COVID-19 shall be authorized by a health care provider for individuals who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- An individual is symptomatic or has a history of symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, and/or trouble breathing), particularly if the individual is 70 years of age or older, the individual has a compromised immune system, or the individual has an underlying health condition; or
- An individual has had close (i.e. within six feet) or proximate contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19; or
- An individual is subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine; or
- An individual is employed as a health care worker, first responder, or other essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working; or
- An individual presents with a case where the facts and circumstances – as determined by the treating clinician in consultation with state or local department of health officials – warrant testing; or
- An individual is included under other criteria set by the NYS Dept. of Health based on an individual's geographic place of residence, occupation, or other factors that the Department may deem relevant for COVID-19 testing purposes; or
- Any individual who would return to workplace in Phase 1 .
Testing in Schools
Universal SARS-CoV-2 testing of all students and staff in school settings has not been systematically studied. It is not known if testing in school settings provides any additional reduction in person-to-person transmission of the virus beyond what would be expected with implementation of other infection preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, cloth face covering, hand washing, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting). Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend universal testing of all students and staff. Implementation of a universal approach to testing in schools may pose challenges, such as the lack of infrastructure to support routine testing and follow up in the school setting, unknown acceptability of this testing approach among students, parents, and staff, lack of dedicated resources, practical considerations related to testing minors and potential disruption in the educational environment.
Types of Tests:
Viral tests approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommended to diagnose current infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Viral tests evaluate whether the virus is present in a respiratory sample. Results from these tests help public health officials identify and isolate people who are infected in order to minimize SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
Antibody tests approved or authorized by the FDA are used to detect a past infection with SARS-CoV-2. CDC does not currently recommend using antibody testing as the sole basis for diagnosing current infection. Depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, the test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection. In addition, it is not currently proven whether a positive antibody test indicates protection against future SARS-CoV-2 infection; therefore, antibody tests should not be used at this time to determine if someone is immune.
CDC recommendations for SARS-CoV-2 testing are based on what is currently known about the virus SARS-CoV-2 and what is known about it continues to change rapidly. Information on testing for SARS-CoV-2 will be updated as more information becomes available.
- Employees may be required to furnish a negative test result prior to returning to work.
- A note from a healthcare provider denoting a negative test result may be required to be provided to the HR office prior to returning.
- Testing may also be required prior to the return from school breaks of greater than 3 days.
- If an employee receives a positive test result, they must immediately notify their supervisor and follow all orders from the Public Health Department and furnish a negative result before returning.
- Testing for COVID-19 is covered under the St. Lawrence-Lewis School District Employees' Medical Plan.
New York State continues to increase testing capacity for COVID-19 on a daily basis. The guidance below enables New York State to prioritize resources to meet the public health need. Individuals who have questions regarding eligibility or access for testing should call the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit the NYSDOH website https://covid19screening.health.ny.gov.
Please call the testing site or your health care provider before you go for testing.
- If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test.
- If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies including pharmacies and medical practices or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.
Contact tracing will be conducted by the department of health to limit the community spread of COVID-19. Districts/BOCES should take steps to make contact tracing easier for Public Health workers. Districts/BOCES should keep a log of any visitors to their buildings, which includes the individual’s name, the time they arrived and left, their intended destination in the building, and their phone number which may be provided to Public Health officials for contact tracing purposes.
- Districts/BOCES should also ensure that employees use their issued badges/fobs to “swipe in” to gain access to the building so that a timestamped record of entry is maintained.Tracing will be conducted by Public Health for close contacts (any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) of laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.
- Tracing functions in the following ways:
- For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
- The public health evaluation of close contacts to patients with laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19 may vary depending on the exposure setting. Contacts in special populations and/or congregate settings require additional considerations and may need handoff to a senior health department investigator or special team.
- Remote communications for the purposes of case investigation and contact tracing should be prioritized; in-person communication may be considered only after remote options have been exhausted.
- Testing is recommended for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.
- Those contacts who test positive (symptomatic or asymptomatic) should be managed as a confirmed COVID-19 case.
- Asymptomatic contacts testing negative should self-quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure (i.e., close encounter with confirmed or probable COVID-19 case)
- If testing is not available, symptomatic close contacts should self-isolate and be managed as a probable COVID-19 case.
- If testing is not available, asymptomatic close contacts should self-quarantine and be monitored for 14 days after their last exposure, with linkage to clinical care for those who develop symptoms.
Remote Learning Plans
The Return to Instruction and Learning working group looked at perception data from teachers to plan for remote learning. The “Spring Pause” data from students and families showed that special education students struggled with online instruction more than their general education classmates. Similarly, the CTE students felt the online experience did not meet their learning needs as the reason they chose a CTE program was that they wanted the hands-on experience and felt they learned better in this environment. For this reason, a decision was made to prioritize these groups for students and to maximize their full in-class instruction recognizing the need for additional safety protocols.
The sudden move to emergency remote learning pointed to skill and knowledge deficits of staff. Some staff adapted well to using technology to provide instruction while others were less skilled. The art of teaching remotely was also another area that teachers were divided. Some classes were more engaging for students than others. Teachers were never trained to teach online so this was a steep learning curve. While daily support and remote professional development were available many teachers merely survived. Taking this into account the professional development plan reflects the needed skills and knowledge that are needed.
In creating this plan, the working group agreed that teachers would settle on one learning management system per program. The younger special education students will use SeeSaw while the older students will use Google Classroom. Further guidance will be provided to teachers around:
Planning lessons using Backward Design
- How teachers structure their instruction including synchronous vs asynchronous direct instruction, tasks, and assessments
- Tech and non-tech options for assignments
- Assessment of student learning in an environment when students have full access to “instant answers”
A fully online and a hybrid model will include the following:
Attendance: Online learning will be flexible to meet the needs of working parents. Online assignments will provide and opportunity for students to demonstrate time on task, ultimately to be reflected in attendance. Synchronous sessions will be part of instruction but there will be some flexibility for students unable to participate at scheduled times.
Access to Technology: The Technology Department worked extensively through the “Spring Pause” to supply students and teachers with working devices. There was already a plan in place in many districts to provide 1:1 access to a device so the BOCES supplemented the gaps in student access. Similarly students without access to stable internet connectivity were identified. The Director of Technology worked with area internet service providers to close the gaps and to identify unique solutions.
Professional Development: Professional development and support were provided throughout the “Spring Pause.” Much of the professional development was offered as a result of questions and needs that arose in office hours sessions. During the summer of 2020 a number of staff members participated in the “Distance Learning by Design” course that helped teachers to create an online unit that meets best practice standards used by the SUNY system. Professional development will also be provided during the 4 Staff Development Days in September with asynchronous opportunities continuing into the fall. Teachers will have access to educational technology educators and data about the successes and challenges of remote instruction will be used to plan additional opportunities.
Feedback Loops: Weekly feedback will be gathered from educators, students, and parents to communicate the reality of what is working well and what can be improved. This feedback will be
used to adjust the Teaching and Learning plan as well as the professional development that will be offered.
Contingency Planning: Teaching assistants have ensured continuity of instruction by taking the role of teacher at times when the classroom teacher is absent. This same process will continue for short-term needs in the event of teachers needing a substitute. These same teaching assistants will continue to help with instruction so teachers can personalize learning for students most in need of supports.
Learning Management Systems (LMS): BOCES has established the use of SeeSaw, for younger populations, and Google Classroom as the LMS to facilitate easy access to academic content, student performance data, and necessary information for administrators, teachers, students, and parents.
Teachers will be expected to integrate high quality digital tools and resources that are appropriate and sustainable for the grade level/subject they teach. The BOCES Model Schools program provides recommendations and training around these tools and resources.
The St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES is coordinating with all 18 component school districts to provide access to families of first responders and healthcare workers. Essential healthcare workers may include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, LPNs, nurse assistants, or lab personnel. First responders may include paramedics, EMTs, police officers, and firefighters.
If you are a healthcare worker or first responder in need of child care services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the main office at 315-562-8130 and leave a message.
If you are a parent or caregiver who needs child care, please complete this parent need for child care survey. Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children, and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the child program you need. It may be a challenge to find child care due to COVID-19 related program closures, however the staff at OCFS are trying their best to support families to find the high quality child care that they need.
OCFS is collecting information from licensed and registered child care providers to find out whether they have openings in their child care program, and if they have the capacity and desire to serve more children than their established capacity. Providers who have slots available in their program are asked to complete this survey every Wednesday. OCFS will share this information with stakeholders including the local child care resource and referral agencies to help connect parents in need of child care with available slots in their community.
Resources for Educators
Centers for Disease Control
Guidance for School Settings: Before and During an Outbreak UPDATED 3/12/20