Dear Stillwater Families,
Governor Cuomo recently released guidance where districts are assigned a tiered location and each tier has specific criteria to enter a yellow, orange, or red zone, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These designations are determined by the state.
The district has been watching the infection rate over the past few weeks and we are preparing for what we would need to do if we are given a yellow zone designation. I encourage you to review the COVID Cluster Zone information and testing requirements for schools and give your consent for school-based COVID-19 testing if Stillwater is designated as a yellow zone in the near future and testing is required. More information on giving consent and how testing will be done can be found below.
In the event that our area does become a yellow zone, Department of Health (DOH) guidance requires our district to test 20% of in-person (hybrid) students and staff in order to remain open for in-person instruction. We understand how important it is for students to be in school and our goal remains to stay safely open for in-person instruction, meals, social connection, and emotional support that our students need.
We have contracted to work with a third party medical group, Adirondack Health & Wellness, to conduct our COVID-19 testing program within the district. Testing cannot be performed without parental consent and testing is not mandatory. However, please consider that if we do not have consent to test 20% of students and staff while in a yellow zone, we will need to shift to full-remote instruction for all students. Once a district falls within the yellow zone, we will have two weeks to complete the randomized testing. Therefore, we would only revert to fully remote instruction if we are unable to complete the 20% randomized testing within that two week period.
If your child is not participating in in-person or hybrid education, you do NOT need to fill out the consent form. Please access and complete the consent form here. If you have more than one child in the district, you will need to complete one form per child. We are asking families to please complete the consent form as soon as possible.
Once you have consented to testing, your child may be randomly selected to receive a free diagnostic test for COVID-19 that will be administered by a certified or licensed medical provider (CNA, LPN, or RN). A rapid COVID-19 test will be used, which will involve inserting a small swab, similar to a q-tip, into the front of the nose. We will notify you immediately if your child tests positive for COVID-19. Any students who test positive will be sent home and must be kept at home until meeting the Saratoga County Department of Public Health criteria to return to school.
Once your child is tested, they will not be tested again at school until all consented students have been tested. Again, testing is required for a random sample of all our hybrid students. To date we have 867 hybrid students. In the event a student is selected for testing and a consent form is NOT on file with the district, parents and guardians will have the option to:
- Sign the consent form
- Test at a different location with personal insurance coverage or at a free site
- Choose remote instruction for their child for a two-week period
The district’s testing plan is still being finalized. More specific information on what it will look like at each level will be shared with families soon.
As you know, the situation changes daily. At this time, schools would be required to test in the event we fall into the yellow zone. By having these consent forms on file ahead of time, we will greatly improve our chances of being able to stay with our current learning plans at each level. If there are any updates to yellow zone school testing requirements, we will update families as soon as possible.
Thank you for your support and understanding. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Superintendent of Schools