Williamsville Central School District

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12-04-20 COVID-19 Testing Update to Families and Staff

December 4, 2020

Dear Williamsville Central School District Families and Staff,

Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo announced changes to the testing protocols for schools in designated Orange and Red Zones.  While the District was initially informed the full guidance for re-opening schools would be shared by Tuesday, December 1, 2020, we have not yet received this important information from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

At this time, remote instruction will continue for all students.

The Governor communicated the following information during his press conference on Monday, November 30, 2020:  In a designated Orange Zone, 20% of the in-person population is required to be tested on a monthly basis. For a Red Zone, 30% of the in-person population is required to be tested on a monthly basis. 

Even without the full guidance, we wanted to share the COVID-19 Testing Procedures you will need to follow once guidance is received and we begin testing.  These testing procedures are subject to change depending on the guidance received from the NYSDOH.  If there is a change, we will communicate that with you as soon as possible.

The District received its Limited Services Laboratory (LSL) license in November, the BinaxNOW Antigen Rapid Tests, and partnered with Aveanna Healthcare to support us in our efforts to complete the testing requirements.

We are scheduled to begin testing on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, pending guidance from the NYSDOH.

While we are sharing the testing procedures, these are some of the questions that need to be clarified by the guidance:

-        Will the guidance be for grades K-12?

-        In the new guidance, will a negative COVID-19 test result be required for staff and students to return to the buildings before re-opening?

-        What is the testing timeline? If we begin testing before full guidance is available and we return to in-person instruction, will the tests conducted prior to re-opening count?

-        Are districts required to test over a full month (i.e. 5% per week)? Or, can districts test 20% of the in-person population as quickly as possible to meet the monthly testing requirement?

-        With the change in Orange and Red Zone testing requirements, how many positive tests in the testing population would force a school and/or district to pivot back to remote instruction?

As a reminder, the type of test that will be administered is the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test. You can view a demonstration of this test here: BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Demonstration.

Students in grades K-8 will be required to have a parent present during testing.  Students randomly selected to be tested will not be penalized and will have an opportunity to complete assigned work if scheduled to take a COVID-19 test during instruction.

COVID-19 Testing Procedures:

1)     If selected to be randomly tested, custodial parent(s) and staff will be notified through WITS. Only those randomly selected and notified will be tested.

2)     Those selected must complete the consent form digitally on WITS. If you do not consent, you will not be able to schedule a COVID-19 test through the Appointment Calendar.

3)     Access the COVID-19 Appointment Calendar through WITS

  1. Select the testing site of your choice:
  1. Select a testing date and time of your choice

4)     Arrive at the testing location at least 10 minutes before your scheduled test time

5)     Check-in with clerical staff in the gymnasium

6)     The COVID-19 BinaxNOW Rapid Test will be administered by the on-site nurse

7)     Custodial parent(s)/staff will receive an e-mail notification to check WITS for COVID-19 test results shortly after the test is conducted

  1. Custodial parent(s) and staff will receive a phone call for a positive COVID-19 test

8)     Follow the directions from the designated health care professional regarding COVID-19 test results

As a reminder, please complete the Daily COVID-19 Health Screening Questionnaire and wear a mask to your scheduled appointment.

The District’s full testing packet, which includes testing procedures, how to schedule a test, and maps for the testing sites at Williamsville North and Williamsville South is attached to this letter. It is also available on our website: COVID-19 Testing Procedures.

In addition, we have a full video presentation on the testing procedures you can watch by clicking: VIDEO – COVID-19 Testing Procedures.

Based on the guidelines for Orange Zone (20% monthly testing) and Red Zone (30% monthly testing) designations, these are the testing metrics the District needs to meet to re-open for in-person instruction:

 

 

School Building

Total On-Site Staff & Student Population

ORANGE ZONE

20% On-Site Testing

RED ZONE

30% On-Site Testing

Country Parkway

365

73

110

Dodge

495

99

149

Forest

453

91

136

Heim

565

113

170

Maple East

551

111

                    166

Maple West

603

121

181

Casey

517

104

156

Heim Middle

568

114

171

Mill

708

142

213

Transit

705

               141

212

East

948

190

285

North

1342

269

403

South

854

171

257

TOTAL

8,674

1,735

2,609

 

Please be sure to use our Yellow, Orange, and Red Micro-Cluster Information page as a reference point for any questions you might have.  On this page you will find the latest up-to-date guidance from the NYSDOH, a fact sheet on the BinaxNOW Rapid Test, and communications we have shared with families.

Based on information from local, state, and national health professionals, schools are a safe place for students.  Developmentally, we know it is the best place to be for learning.

It is important to note that our District has been impacted by community spread.  This includes busing and staffing, which are two critical components of re-opening our schools.  These are factors we will consider throughout the re-opening process. In addition to this, we are continuing to have conversations and collaborating with leaders throughout the region on a common re-opening for in-person learning.

As a District, we know and understand the stress and anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 global health pandemic. Thank you for your trust, patience, and continued support as we continue to navigate these challenging times and meet the health and safety guidelines set forth by the NYSDOH.

Please continue to be proactive and help slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, social distancing, and following good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands.

Stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Dr. John E. McKenna
Acting Superintendent of Schools