Some local school districts inform parents; testing no longer required

WHECTV
Updated: November 22, 2020 06:11 AM
Created: November 21, 2020 02:33 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Some school districts are already informing parents that they will no longer be testing students and staff members for COVID-19. 

According to the NYS Department of Health, schools in yellow zones must test 20% of in-person students, faculty, and staff over a two-week period, effective November 16, 2020.

The guidance further states, if the results of the testing reveal that the positivity rate among the 20% of those tested is lower than the yellow zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, testing will no longer be required to continue.  A positivity rate in a school that is lower than in the yellow zone is a sufficient demonstration that in-person instruction is not a significant driver of local viral spread.

Districts like Fairport revealed that they have a. 25% positivity rate, therefore, they will no longer be required to test their students and staff members.

News10NBC obtained an email sent out to Fairport parents Saturday, the letter went to parents of children who were supposed to be tested for the virus, in the letter it said:

"This message is to inform you that your child who was randomly selected to be COVID-19 tested next week as part of Fairport CSD’s testing program per NYS Yellow Zone requirement, will no longer need to be tested as a result of new guidance that was shared with school districts. According to the revised guidance from the NYS Department of Health, schools in yellow zones must test 20% of in-person students, faculty and staff over a two-week period, effective November 16, 2020. The guidance further states, if the results of the testing reveal that the positivity rate among the 20% of those tested is lower than the yellow zone’s current 7-day positivity rate (which is currently around 4%), testing will no longer be required to continue. After five days of testing a total of 1200 students and staff, three positive results were reported, which yields a positivity rate of .25%. As a result, our testing programming does not need to continue unless we are asked to do so again by NYS. If the District should need to resume its testing program (at the direction of NYS) in the future, the District will communicate with families at that time."

Other districts such as East Irondequoit will also stop testing this coming week. 

News10NBC obtained an email sent out to East Irondequoit parents and it said: 

" Due to our school district’s positivity rate being below the County’s infection rate, we can remain open and we do not have to continue to test our in-person students and staff.  However, if Monroe County’s positivity rate continues to increase, then we may be designated an “Orange Zone” by Governor Cuomo.  In an “ Orange Zone” there are additional restrictions for the community and for schools.  According to the regulations from New York State, and the Executive Order 202.68, schools would have to close for in-person instruction for a period of time and additional testing would be required in order to re-open for in-person instruction. The regulations are not clear, but I am confident that our teaching staff is ready to deliver high quality instruction to our students if they are remote even for a short period of time. The goal is to remain open and in-person. I share this with you to be proactive rather than reactive." 

In a release to parents Friday, the Webster School District said its positivity rate was lower than the county, and would therefore halt testing unless they were told to the resume. It said in part:

"While that is good news and confirmation that schools are following the science and our safety protocols are working, it is clear that all communities need to modify behaviors outside of our schools. ALL of us need to commit to masking, physical distancing, and washing our hands in order to prevent community spread. My hope is that area districts can move from yellow to green zones before or after Thanksgiving. Please be careful over the Thanksgiving break as none of us wants to see our numbers spike again. Don’t get comfortable!!! We can get through this, but we have to do it together."

News10NBC has reached out to several other districts around the area.


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