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Questions & Answers from December 14, 2021



December 14, 2021- Continued from November 30, 2021

Documented Results

190. What is documented result?

At this time, whatever COVID test you get to come back to school/work, it must be done by a medical professional and get a written report. Can self-report positive test but not negative. This may change going forward.

Email receipt

191. A note sent by email, what happens if it is not received?

The District can do a read/delivery receipt

Come without a mask

192. When will my fully vaccinated child be able to attend school without a mask?

The mask mandate is a State policy – not a local policy. Students will be able to attend school without a mask when the State says so- is a State mandate right ow.


193.  What is Shoutpoint?

Shoutpoint is a communication tool that goes to every parent/guardian in the district providing notifications. We also list everything on the website in the 2021-2022 area of website- All notifications go up. Shoutpoint can make phone calls and send emails.

Omicrom when vaccinated

194. If one can get omicron when vaccinated shouldn’t everyone quarantine if exposed?

As a public school we are required to follow the guidance & requirements from UC Department of Health, which also follows NY Department of Health. Currently, they are stating that if a vaccinated individual is exposed and have symptoms, you would have to quarantine. But if exposed indiciduals are vaccinated, but have no symptoms, they do not need to quarantine.

Positive Case notification

195. Regarding positive case notification: think read receipt is great idea like Kevin suggested. Why not automate text and robocall with at least general alert like snow delay style? More chances to notify the better.

We are shifting to email because it’s been successfully used by other districts. If we have 2 or 3 students test positive, these two students can result in over 100 telephone calls for contact tracing purposes. Unfortunately, the Shoutpoint system  can’t create filters to adequately address making the correct contacts..  People who need to quarantine will get a phone call. If no quarantine is required, an email will be sent to let people know that they may have been exposed.

Omicron – test more

195. I disagree that we are truly better off than 2020 .  While we now have the vaccine, we also have a much more contagious Delta variant this fall that is causing area hospitals to be overwhelmed already.  Now, we have Omicron on its way which is even more contagious.  Also, omicron causes breakthrough cases even with people triple vaccinated.  Given that, once Omicron is here, wouldn’t it be prudent to require testing/quarantining of vaccinated people who are close contacts to prevent outbreaks?

As a District we following the guidance of UC Department of Health– this guidance does changes – thus it remains fluid – UCDOH is constantly assessing the situation and making changes when warranted. We share the concern!  County has received antigen tests for the public and school districts; we are looking at best way for parents to get access to these kits. Additionally, the District is offering free COVID screening testing on January 9th. We are partnering with Dr. Smoller for testing for symptomatic people – We are in the process of finalizing the details. Any individual can always self- quarantine if think you there was an exposure.

Emails for exposure

196. Kevin, thank you for mentioning a read receipt from Health Services. When my child was home w/ "symptoms , I emailed health services numerous times after going for the COVID test. I never received even one response from them. Days & days passed, & I had to resort to calling & emailing numerous others within the district to get any response at all. I appreciate that suggestion, it should be taken very seriously by the dept.

At the District level, we will use a read receipt for the email. Students/Staff who are fully vaccinated for at least 2 weeks and are not symptomatic after exposure – do not have to quarantine. However, in this situation, they should let their school nurses know that they have been exposed, in case they develop symptoms. These people will get an email with a read receipt.

Help while students are home - MS

197. I’m so glad we are able to accept the verified antigen tests for kids to return to school a little quicker. I’m still concerned that we need virtual help for middle school kids who are out awaiting PCR results after illness or quarantine. Do we have updated info on more virtual help? Homework club maybe?

Every day at the MS, the Social Studies, Science, English and Math teachers are available 4th period (10:03-10:45 am) for direct conversation and instruction for any quarantined child. We encourage everyone with a student a home to check in 4th period.

Quarantine vs. symptomatic

198. It seems like a lot of parents don't understand the difference between quarantined and symptomatic. Maybe it would be a good idea to reiterate that difference.

Quarantining is for direct exposure to COVID -19. Symptomatic means you are sick. Both will get email from health services that you are not cleared to come to school. This information also goes to the guidance department for MS/HS. In elementary , principals know to tell teachers so that they can start the process to support students who are out.

PCR tests better than antigen tests

199. Binax rapid antigen tests are notoriously inaccurate and give a lot of false negatives.  While they are great for screening of unexposed/asymptomatic people as we now have at Onteora (thank you!)  rapid antigen tests are not good substitutes for a PCR. I feel this needs to be acknowledged -  that accuracy is poor for the rapid antigen test.  I understand we are choosing to follow the DOH, but this is a risky choice.  A PCR test is a 100% definitive test so that we know a child is truly healthy and won’t infect others. With things worsening, we really need to get rapid PCR testing in the school district, rather than substituting the far less accurate Binax rapid antigen tests.

The same statement was put to the County – At 3.2% positivity used PCR, at 7% using antigen. The County’s response was that is what we are doing.  It may be useful to use many antigen tests.

Air purifiers

200. Are there filters in the air purifiers? What kind of maintenance is required?

Each classroom has an air purifier with HEPA filters These are medical quality purifiers with   times the capacity of the classrooms. All classrooms have air purifier with HEPA filters. Additionally, air purifiers have been ordered for larger alternative learning spaces. We are currently waiting for 10 additional large filters.

Symptoms day after vaccination


201. If my child has symptoms day after vaccination, it is side effects and don’t have to quarantine.

On website is answer as to when to worry about symptoms. If symptoms are side effects of vaccine, they resolve within a day or so – if you start to see symptoms such as shortness of breath or symptoms that are not resolving- talk to your health care provider

Length of quarantine

202. How long is average quarantine?

The quarantine period starts with last date of exposure to positive person. The average is 10 days but may only results in being out for only a day or 2 We estimate the quarantine period based on the facts of each situation. Please note that only the UCDOH can release someone from quarantine.  Children who are symptomatic, are not allowed to come back until their symptoms disappear. The child’s health professional needs to provide a note for clearance

Help while students are home – Elem & HS

203. How do elementary and HS students get support?

Elementary students – same as has been – teachers reach out to students, families reach out to teachers and principals. There are a wide variety of ways parents want to communicate with teachers. At the high school level, Math and LOTE teachers are live stream classes. All other classes are making arrangements to meet with teacher. Every HS teachers has a  professional period to work with students.