Micro-Cluster Frequently Asked Questions
The District presented The Micro-Cluster Strategy during the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. We encourage our school community to review the
video presentation. WATCH: Micro-Cluster Video Presentation
Q: Where can I find the latest information and guidance regarding Yellow, Orange, or Red Zone designation?
A: The District has created a Yellow, Orange, and Red Zone micro-cluster informational page that features guidance from the New York State Department of Health along with updates from the District. It can be accessed here: Yellow, Orange, and Red Zone Micro-Cluster Information.
Q: How will we know which schools or if the District is in a designated Yellow, Orange, or Red micro-cluster zone?
A: If a school or District is placed into a micro-cluster zone by the New York State Department of Health, Erie County, or the Erie County Department of Health, the District will notify the school community through WITSMail, e-Alert text messages, and social media. Micro-cluster zones may be designated to zip codes, streets, or by more specific geographic location. Here is a breakdown of zip codes and schools for our District:
Dodge Elementary School
Casey Middle School
Transit Middle School
Williamsville East High School
Country Parkway Elementary School
Forest Elementary School
Heim Elementary School
Maple East Elementary
Maple West Elementary
Heim Middle School
Mill Middle School
Williamsville North High School
Williamsville South High School
Q: What happens if a school or the District is placed in a Yellow Zone COVID-19 micro-cluster?
A: While schools can remain open if they are placed into a “Yellow Zone,” it is important to note that there is a mandatory weekly testing requirement to keep schools open. The current guidance requires 20% of the in-person population (students and staff) to be randomly tested on a bi-weekly basis. If the testing parameters and/or capacity cannot be met by the testing authority, school building(s) will be required to close for in-person classes and will transition to remote instruction. Changes to the "Yellow Zone" guidance were made on Monday, November 16, 2020.
Q: What happens if a school or the District is placed in an Orange Zone or Red Zone COVID-19 micro-cluster?
A: If placed in an Orange or Red Zone, schools will be required to pivot to fully-remote instruction for at least two weeks. In order to re-open, all students, faculty, and staff must have a negative COVID-19 test result to attend school in-person. In addition, 25% of the in-person population must be randomly tested on a weekly basis. NOTE: Additional guidance was released by NSDOH on November 30, 2020 indicating a change in testing procedures. The District is awaiting further guidance regarding testing and closure requirements.
Q: What is the cost for the testing that is borne by the District?
A: As of November 12, 2020, our District has been informed that it will not incur costs for the actual tests. New York State Department of Health will provide the tests to the District. The District will need to incur costs related to administering the tests. There is the potential for these costs to be reimbursed to the District through Cares Act funding and other similar grants.
Q: What are the testing requirements if placed in a designated Yellow Zone COVID-19 micro-cluster?
A: If placed in a Yellow Zone, 20% of the in-person population must be randomly tested on a weekly basis.
Q: What are the testing requirements if placed in a designated Orange or Red Zone COVID-19 micro-cluster?
A: On November 30, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced a change in Orange and Red Zone testing policy. If a school and/or district is in an Orange Zone, they are required to test 20% of the in-person population on a monthly basis. For a Red Zone, 30% of the in-person population is required to be tested on a monthly basis. Full guidance is expected to be shared with school districts over the next few days.
For additional NYSDOH Guidance on Yellow Zone, Orange Zone, and Red Zone please review the following documents:
Q: How are individuals randomly selected?
A: The District is using WITS to randomly select students, faculty and staff participating in in-person instruction.
Q: How will families, faculty and staff be notified if they are randomly selected to be a part of the random testing population?
A: If selected for random testing, families, faculty, and staff will be notified through WITS.
Q: How will I know where and when I can be randomly tested?
A: This information will be available in the notification that is sent through WITS.
Q: Where are the District’s testing sites located?
A: The District has identified three testing sites: Williamsville East, Williamsville North, and Williamsville South.
Q: Are remote teachers or students required to be tested so the school and/or District can meet the necessary NYSDOH guidelines regarding random testing?
A: No, remote teachers or students are currently excluded from having to be tested since they are not conducting or receiving in-person instruction in the building.
Q: What kind of COVID-19 test will be used?
A: The latest information the District has from conversations with the Erie County Department of Health is that Binax COVID-19 (non-invasive) rapid tests will be used. To view a demonstration of the test, click here: Binax COVID-19 Rapid Test.
Q: How long does it take to get COVID-19 rapid test results?
A: The approximate wait time for the testing process is 30 minutes.
Q: What happens if a student or staff member does not consent to having a COVID-19 test?
A: The District is continuing to have conversations with state and local officials regarding this and will provide an update with information to families, faculty, and staff as soon as additional guidance is available.
Q: Can teachers/administrators/staff report if we are in a yellow zone?
A: Yes, there is no prohibition on staff reporting – other than abiding by the current COVID-19 safety and health guidance which includes wearing of masks, daily screening, social distancing, maintaining gathering limits, etc. The District will need to meet the required 20% random testing sample for all in-school staff.
Q: Are the testing requirements for pre-schools as well?
A: The test only applies to pre-school if the pre-school is occurring on District property. Since this is not occurring, the District, at this point, is not responsible for independent pre-school testing protocol.
Q: If my child(ren) needs a digital device, how do we request one?
A: Digital device requests can be submitted through this digital device request form: Digital Device Request Form.
Q: Where can I find the latest information regarding travel and quartine procedures?
A: The latest travel guidance from the New York State Department of Health, which was updated and released on November 3, 2020 can be viewed here: NYS Department of Health Updated Travel Guidance. As outlined in the guidance, non-essential travel is strongly discouraged. Please also be sure to complete the Daily COVID-19 Health Screening Questionnaire.