November 2, 2021
Happy November! This summer, when we celebrated the fact that we would be returning to school full-time and have classrooms, hallways and buildings full of students and staff we were elated. As we enter November, we reflect on the experience to date and know that the continuation of the public health crisis has impacted so many children, staff and families this year with mandatory quarantines and isolations. We acknowledge everyone’s ability to pivot at a moment’s notice to home instruction due to a quarantine.
We also recognize that Saratoga County Department of Health (SCDOH)-issued quarantines are frustrating for all involved. As the fall progresses, we continue to work collaboratively with the SCDOH on ways to keep our schools safe while minimizing the impact on instruction due to widespread quarantines. The following changes are being implemented to help alleviate this impact:
Test Out – The county recently implemented a “Test Out” of quarantine option for asymptomatic individuals at day 7 of quarantine with negative test results from day 5. We have mixed reviews of this process as there is a packet of information from SCDOH that must be followed for early release. We have spoken to SCDOH and informed them of the feedback in the hopes that changes can be made to make this process easier.
Test to Stay – Saratoga County is launching a “Test to Stay” pilot with the South Glens Falls School District which will allow for asymptomatic, unvaccinated students who are under county quarantine from a school exposure to test daily, with parental consent, so that quarantines will be significantly minimized. While this may take a few weeks for Stillwater to initiate, this will be the break we need to keep students and staff in schools.
Return to School – NYSDOH has initiated a policy change as per the Saratoga County Department of Health for symptomatic, vaccinated students/staff. NYSDOH is allowing rapid tests to be conducted at school, again by consent, to allow students/families to quickly know testing results. This does not include home test kits.
Abbott Machines for diagnostic testing – This will allow us, with parental consent, to test symptomatic students so that parents do not have to bring their children to a provider to get tested. We are awaiting the delivery of these machines so that we can begin diagnostic testing at school, with results in as little as 15 minutes. This will help alleviate the impact of waiting for test results from a provider.
Lastly, I would like to thank you for working with our amazing staff to make our transition to full-time, in-person instruction possible. I recognize the burdens this virus has placed on our community and am grateful for the opportunity to work with your children.