Letter from Nurses: Possible Exposure Notification Procedures

January 18, 2022

Dear BH-BL Parents/Guardians,

This past weekend, updated COVID-19 health and safety guidance was released from the state. One of the biggest changes impacting school districts is that the New York State Department of Health will no longer conduct contact tracing. On a regional level, this means that individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 will not be contacted by their local departments of health, including Schenectady and Saratoga counties.

At BH-BL, we will continue to notify impacted families when we learn about a positive case. Beginning today, however, we are shifting from a “contact tracing” notification model to a “possible exposure” notification model. This means parents/guardians will be informed via email from their child’s school nurse if there was a possible exposure to a positive COVID-19 case.

  • For elementary schools, notifications will be sent to parents of students in a particular classroom upon the occurrence of a positive case in that class.
  • For middle school, the notifications will be sent to parents of students in a particular grade level when there are five or more positive cases for that grade level on a given day.
  • For high school, notifications will be sent to parents of particular students when there is a positive case diagnosed at that student’s lunch table or on their athletic team.

If a parent receives a notification of a possible exposure, they should review the guidelines provided by the CDC and county department of health (Schenectady County or Saratoga County), and make every effort to follow the applicable advice given for their particular situation. At-home testing kits are available at the main office of each BH-BL school and the district office. The PCR COVID-19 testing site at Pashley Elementary School is also open. Much like before, we continue to ask parents/guardians to monitor their children for symptoms, but a possible school exposure will not generally result in students being excluded from school.

If your child is diagnosed with COVID-19, please inform the school nurse. The nurse will review the case with parents/guardians and determine the earliest possible return-to-school date (no sooner than five days after the onset of symptoms). Students should not return to school until they are symptom free, and should be particularly careful to observe proper masking and distancing procedures if they return to school prior to 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Please refer to the Schenectady County or Saratoga County websites for specific isolation information and guidance.

While the latest guidance from the state does result in a few changes, other protocols remain the same for school districts. They include:

  • Face Coverings. Students and staff will continue to wear face coverings in school and on school buses. Face coverings may be removed when eating or drinking. Mask breaks will be given periodically throughout the school day.
  • Sick Child Protocol. If your child is feeling unwell, regardless of whether or not there is a known exposure to COVID-19, it is very important that students who are sick do not attend school. It is recommended that children with COVID-19 symptoms either undergo a PCR test (available at Pashley Elementary School’s testing site) or perform at-home rapid tests (kits are available through the school) to test your child for COVID-19.
  • Daily Positive Case Reporting. School districts are still required to submit the number of positive COVID-19 cases among staff and students to the state’s dashboard. Therefore, we will continue to post on our website the daily positive cases by school building. That information can be found on our website.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we work to keep our students and staff healthy, and our students in school. If you have any questions about COVID-19 testing, quarantining, or isolating, please refer to the Schenectady or Saratoga County websites. Specific questions related to BH-BL procedures may be directed to BH-BL’s COVID Coordinator Jodi Reynolds at covidtesting@bhbl.org. To report a positive test result, please contact your child’s school nurse directly. School absences should still be reported using your child’s school’s online attendance form.

Thank you,

BHBL School Nurses & Jodi Reynolds RN, BSN,  COVID-19 Coordinator