Updated guidance from the NYS Dept. of Health

Dear Stillwater Families,

I can’t believe we’ve already made it to October. While the start to the year has certainly been different, we all continue to work to ensure that our students remain happy, healthy, and safe in our schools.

I wanted to make you aware that on Thursday, Sept. 30, the New York State Department of Health released a Pre-K to Gr. 12 COVID-19 Toolkit containing updated guidance. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the new information. 

Updated Return to School Protocols

As you know, everyone who enters our school buildings is being asked to screen for possible COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are ill are required to stay home. We wanted to clarify what needs to happen before students and staff can return to school after falling ill or showing COVID-19 symptoms. 

If a student or employee has shown symptoms of the coronavirus, one of the following must take place before that person can return to school: 

  • Your health-care provider gives you a conclusive diagnosis of something other than COVID-19; 
  • You test negative for COVID-19; or 
  • You are released from isolation by the Department of Health. 

Students and employees will be asked to provide documentation from a health care provider of an alternative diagnosis, or a negative COVID test result. 

Anyone who is symptomatic for 48 hours and does not receive an alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID test result will be isolated by the Department of Health. We are awaiting further guidance as to whether or not the Department of Health will then begin contact tracing for these situations.

We are aware that these protocols present challenges for some families, but please know that these protocols are not simply school or district policy. Only the Health Department has the power to release individuals from isolation, which would then allow them to return to the school.   

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your child’s school principal.


Patricia Morris