Micro-Cluster Action Initiative/COVID-19 Testing

Many of you are likely aware of New York State’s Micro-Cluster Action Initiative, where regions of the state are designated Yellow, Orange or Red zones based on the prevalence of COVID-19 in those areas. Each zone designation comes with various restrictions for businesses, gatherings, and schools.

If we are deemed to be in a micro-cluster zone, the state will require we test a specified percentage of all in-person students and staff for COVID-19 over a given period of time. The option to stay open will depend on if we obtain enough consent for testing, and how our school community’s test results compare to the overall population.

The following questions pertain to the mandatory COVID-19 testing associated with the Micro-Cluster Action initiative.

Q: Where will the tests come from?
A: The state will be providing rapid antigen tests through the county.

Q: What type of testing will be administered?
A: If testing is necessary, we would conduct BinaxNow rapid testing, which is a minimally invasive, shallow, mid-nostril swab test that involves a swab (similar to a Q-tip) being placed into each nostril. The testing would be conducted by a trained healthcare professional.

Q: Can parents/guardians have their children tested outside of school?
A: Yes. If we are placed into a color zone, you may contact your primary care physician and have your child tested there. You would need to share the results with the district. Please note: the test needs to take place during the window of time in which the designation was given. You cannot use an old test.

Q: Will everyone who consents be tested?
A: Not necessarily. Our understanding is that only a certain percentage (which may vary based on the zone), of students and staff members would need to be tested. If more than the number required consent to be tested, then it’s possible that not everyone who agreed would be tested.

Q: Are students and staff members who are all-remote part of the testing?
A: No. All-remote students and employees will not be tested and should not complete the consent form.

Q: What happens if the families of the required percentage of individuals for each school do not consent to be tested?
A: Those schools would need to transition to all-remote instruction, based on our current understanding of the state guidelines.

Q: Does this mean the district will be continually testing to keep school open?
A: No, a zone designation does not automatically mean continual testing. Our current understanding is that it’s possible that only one round of testing would be required if the school’s positivity rate is less than that of the greater community. However, testing requirements could evolve as state guidance evolves, and we will continue to monitor this and communicate with families and employees.

Q: When and would the testing take place?
A: At this time, we believe testing will take place in the morning.Testing will take place in a designated area in each school.Parents/guardians will benotified in advance if their child was selected for testing.

Q: Can parents be there while their child(ren) are being tested?
A: Yes.

Q: When will results of the tests be available?
A: Individual results for the minimally invasive, short-swab nasal tests are read 15 minutes after the test is administered.

Q: Who will see the results?
A: The results will be sent to the state and county departments of health, as well as the parent/guardian.

Q: If a student or staff member is randomly for the first round of testing, what are the odds they will be selected for the are second round?
A: Students/ staff will be tested on a rolling basis. We will test a different pool of students/staff each round of testing.

Q: What happens the results are positive for an individual?
A: We will notify the family and the student will go home from school and referred for follow-up with their medical provider. In the event of positive results, we will follow all of our current protocols regarding working with public health partners regarding contract tracing and quarantining.

Q: What happens if I am not contacted about test results?
A: Then you can assume the result was negative (whether part of a pool or a nasal swab test).

Q: What happens if I think my child’s test results are a false positive?
A: Your child be asked to remain in quarantine or get a test from healthcare provider and prove a negative result.

Q: Will my child’s personal information be handled appropriately within the provisions of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act?
A: Yes.