All 2021-2022 school COVID-19 updates can be found on the district’s 2021-2022 Reopening & COVID-19 Updates page here.
Dear Schodack Families,
Happy New Year! I hope the remainder of the holiday season treated you well and that you were able to gather with loved ones to celebrate.
Tomorrow (January 3) we will welcome our students back for the first day of classes in 2022 and I am excited to start the second half of the school year alongside all of you. The holiday recess came at the right time and offered the first extended break for our school community since September. The 2021-22 school year has not been the complete return to normalcy we may have hoped for and has had its own challenges, but so far it has been an improvement over last year. Our extracurricular/athletic activities have returned and most importantly, all our students have returned to full in-person instruction after last year’s hybrid schedule model.
This past Tuesday (December 28), Governor Hochul spoke with superintendents to discuss her desire to keep schools open across the state. She pledged millions of test kits for school districts, provided to them by their local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). The governor’s goal was for families to administer these tests at home before students returned on January 3, but that would be difficult given the timing. Instead, we plan to distribute these home tests for Schodack families on Tuesday, January 4.
Please review the information below about the distribution of these home tests as well as updates about Test to Stay and Quarantine Periods.
COVID Home Tests After Returning from Holiday Break
- On Tuesday, January 4, we will send each student home with a test kit. Please ask them about it in case they forget to give it to you.
- Students who test positive on one of these take-home tests should immediately report their results to the school and begin isolating. Students who test positive using one of these at-home kits still must complete a lab-confirmed COVID test. Please visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you to find a nearby testing site.
- Students who test positive must isolate at home for 10 days and may return to school on day 11 if symptoms are gone. Currently, students cannot test out of this 10-day isolation period.
- Using these kits for home testing is voluntary. However, I strongly encourage all families to take advantage of these home test kits for their students. If you do not wish to use these test kits, please have your student return them to school later this week.
Test to Stay Update
- Last week, the state updated guidance on Test to Stay to reduce the number of students and staff who would be excluded from school following known COVID exposure. Currently, our local health departments are reviewing and assessing the feasibility of this Test to Stay strategy throughout our counties. Local school districts and the BOCES will continue to monitor local conditions in partnership with our local health departments.
Quarantine Periods Update
- The New York State Department of Health has not adopted the CDC’s latest guidance on shortening quarantine and isolation periods to 5 days for the general population. NYS has only adopted this for essential workers (which includes teachers) and the 10 day period remains in place for everyone else, including students. If there are any changes, we will communicate them as soon as possible.
With your help, we have kept our schools open during the first half of 2021-22 with no need to shift to remote learning and I know we can do the same as we return for the second half. This break offered us all time to recharge and relax, but please keep your guard up during these first few weeks of 2022. Take even minor symptoms students may have serious and do not send them into school thinking it is just the common cold. We have seen how rapidly the latest variant can spread and sending a student in for even one day with minor symptoms could have a wide-ranging effect on classmates, staff and school operations. If your student has symptoms, please keep them home and connect with your family doctor about the possible need for testing before returning to school.
Thank you as always for your help keeping our schools a safe place to learn, I look forward to starting the second half of the year with our students tomorrow.
Jason M. Chevrier
Schodack Central School District