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Questions & Answers from November 16, 2021



November 16, 2021- Continued from October 19, 2021


Informed they were exposed

144. Why are high school kids not told they have been exposed?

When someone is positive, it starts the extensive process of contact tracing. This process takes a while. Parents are notified when the child is not in school. Children in school are sent home and told why. The decision to Quarantine is made as follows: Once health personnel notified, the contact tracing begins. This process includes asking the following questions:  Where does/ did the positive student sit? Who was within 3 feet of positive case, (this is done by checking class attendance to see if the children who sit next to the positive student were in school.) The process is repeated for the bus, after school program, and field trips. The contact tracing targets non-immunized first as different rules apply regarding quarantine. If students are immunized, they can remain in school (Parents of immunized students are informed of the direct contact and are told to watch for symptoms. Also, 3-5 days after exposure, it is recommended immunized students be tested.) The contact tracing process requires us to find out whether a person in direct contact was vaccinated or not vaccinated – due to different rules applicable to each category. For confidentiality, no names are given out. Due to the extensive nature of the process, people that don’t have to quarantine are not called.

Remote Learning

145. With the rising COVID positive numbers is there a possibility of remote learning being implemented for some of the schools?  If so, what is the tipping point that would trigger this?

There have been almost no cases at primary and intermediate level – we are hoping to maintain that.  There is not a specific number that triggers remote learning. It is done by facts and circumstances. For a school to go remote specific attention to the facts and circumstances would be paid. also, as Ulster County is our regulatory body – they will tell us when the District needs to go remote.

Parents Notification

146. Would all parents still be notified whether or not vaccinated? Would we not be concerned about the possibility of the delta variant for vaccinated students, regarding who is kept home, especially since kids can be asymptomatic?

COVID screening in the morning should be paid attention to by parents, even if children are responding


147.Sports questions? Wrestling is allowed? But cases going up?

For sports, we are a member of Section IX. Section IX has made mask mandate for Wrestling. We are following Section IX requirements and moving forward with winter sports


148. Can someone speak to how/why we have close contact sports (such as wrestling) but masks still mandatory as well as keeping distance yet wrestling is 100% close contact sport. When you have time… no rush. Still listening.

See answer to Question 147

Vaccinated/unvaccinated quarantine

149. Also, it sounded as if Suellen stated that unvaccinated active exposures are quarantined but vaccinated students are not. Is that correct? Please  correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe all can spread virus equally regardless of vaccination status so I’m confused as to why we treat differently. Again, no pressure. Answer when appropriate please.

The protocols and processes we follow are based on our regulatory body’s UCDOH requirements. Their requirements (and thus ours) follows the CDC. The current rule is that if the person in contact with a positive person is asymptomatic and vaccinated, they don’t have to quarantine, but they must watch for (and report) any symptoms. Also if the contact person has had  COVID within 90 days they do not have to quarantine.

PCR Testing

150. That negative COVID test is required to return (or the doctors note) should be provided by the school. Waiting patiently to hear if that in fact is the plan.

In a conversation with the County Executive, Patrick Ryan, the County has received money for testing, which they applied for in an initial grant. The grant was for screening testing, but they could not put PCR tests. As Mr. Ryan recognizes the challenges that all schools face, he has reached out to the State for additional funding. Working together with the County, we are looking at other solutions since it is mandatory that PCR tests used to return to school. We hope to have a solution ( perhaps a mobile van unit or something similar) identified soon.

Contact Tracer Calls Real

151. What information does the state receive about particular cases in the school?  Someone who said she was from the NYS contact tracing called my house without identifying herself and asked for personal information about my child. Is this for real?

If they are a contact tracer, they have the information about your child and know when they were in last contact with positive case but not allowed to say. They get the child’s name, parent name and a phone number to reach you. They are supposed to identify themselves as a contact tracer

Mental Health

152. If we are looking to get help for mental health in the district I beg you to hire someone besides Morningside. They are useless.

As a District, we are working with many different organizations – partnering to create different supports for our families. Working with behavioral organizations to bring to clinicians. Using a multi-level support system.  Emotional psychiatric support is provided in tiers – depends on need in situation.

PCR Tests

153. Thank you for all of this info!  Is the district working to increase access to local, daily, rapid PCR testing in order to get negative results for students with cold symptoms, and get them back in school the next day instead of days later?

See answer to Question 150.


154. So if kids can wrestle with a mask, then social distancing should be nonexistent, so long as they have a mask. Correct?

If wrestling, not social distanced from wrestling partner, but if not wrestling at the moment then they stay socially distant

Ad Hoc Committee on Testing

155. My question was answered Emily, thank you.  I would like to join in the solution finding on testing - how exactly do I do that?

For interested parties, form ad hoc committee on how to address testing at county and state level – will be in touch


156. Marystephanie noted 2% as the current positivity rate on 11/12. Pat Ryan reported 4.4% 7-day rolling avg on his live address same day, 11/12. Also very notable that same speech: last year we saw a 378% increase during holiday break last year. We need to be prepared before we have to scramble, I think. Pat warned we are already seeing  a disappointing trend, not that he’s, or we are, being as proactive as we were last year.

Not a question but rather a  statement

PCR Tests

157. Is the mobile van able to do PCR or only the rapid antigen?

In buildings can do PCR tests, not sure about mobile van. Marc Rider, our County contact for all things COVID, is scheduled to participate in the December 14th  COVID forum. It is our understanding that last year county had contracts with labs. This year they do not and are depending on private places for testing.

Vaccination requirement

158.Just to clarify, staff is required to be vaccinated ? Or tested if not vaccinated? If the latter how often are they tested.

The staff is tested on a weekly basis if not vaccinated,  if vaccinated they can choose to be tested.


Tests Allowed

159. The Village Apothecary will be starting Rapid PCR and Rapid Antigen.  Can those be used to get back into school?

Rapid NNART (PCR equivalent)  Rapid Antigen  tests are not allowed. Antigen tests are used  for screening. Person– must be asymptomatic to be screened tested. Village Apothecary are not getting insurance  for PCR tests.

PCR to Return to School

160. Thank you for finally clarifying that the PCR test is needed for a return to school. My son was sent home, I got him the rapid test in hopes of getting him back to class quickly. There was nothing on the paperwork sent home stating that a PCR test was needed,  and the rapid tests are done in school. This was all new to me, I had no idea. Please make this more clear to families in the future. My son missed 10 days of school because I was not informed by the school.


Information sent home does say a PCR test is needed to return to school.


161. So if you are sent home this purely based on symptoms not exposure?

If you have symptoms you have to be checked by your  health care provider before returning for school