Updated guidance on returning to school following an illness

The New York State Department of Health recently released updated protocols for school districts, parents, health care providers and others to use in determining how and when students and staff can return to school after showing symptoms of coronavirus or similar illness, or being exposed to the coronavirus. This guidance affects all school districts in New York State.

If your child has been identified with symptoms which could be consistent with a COVID-19 diagnosis, it is highly recommended that you have your child seen by a healthcare provider or the local Department of Health within 48 hours.

Per New York State Department of Health regulations, if your child is not evaluated by a healthcare provider or a negative COVID test is not produced within 48 hours of symptom onset, the district is required to report this to the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH) for follow-up. Once reported, ACDOH will contact you to discuss the case and begin contact tracing.

Negative COVID Test

If your child is evaluated by a healthcare provider within 48 hours and receives a negative COVID test,  the following must take place before the child can return to school:

  • Results of a Negative COVID diagnostic test (copy of lab results or physician documentation) are provided.
  • All symptoms are improving.
  • The child is fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
  • There is no vomiting or diarrhea for at least the previous 12 hours.

Please Note:

  • If your child is diagnosed with another health condition and prescribed an antibiotic, the child must complete 24 hours of the antibiotic medication prior to returning to school.
  • Our school nurse may contact you to inquire about the status of the child.

Positive COVID Test

If your child is evaluated by a healthcare provider within 48 hours and receives a positive COVID test result, the following must take place before the child can return to school:

  • A written release is from isolation is obtained from the local DOH, stating that the child is able to return to school, which is typically:
    • 10 days have passed since the date of the positive test or the first symptoms have appeared. 
    • The child has been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
    • The child’s symptoms are improving.
    • There has been no vomiting or diarrhea for at least the previous 12 hours.

Please note:

  • While the ill person is in isolation, all members of the household must quarantine at home until released by the local health department, typically 14 days.
  • If your child is diagnosed with another health condition and prescribed an antibiotic, the child must complete 24 hours of the antibiotic medication prior to returning to school.
  • A local health department will notify parent/school and provide exact return to school date 
  • Our school nurse may contact you to inquire about the status of the child.
     

Alternate Diagnosis

If you choose to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider within 48 hours and your child receives a laboratory confirmed alternate diagnosis, the following must take place before the child can return to school:

  • A written diagnosis is obtained from the healthcare provider for a laboratory confirmed acute illness (ex: laboratory-confirmed influenza,  strep-throat, etc.).
  • The healthcare provider must indicate that COVID is not suspected.
  • The note from the healthcare provider must detail the alternate diagnosis as well as a release to return to school (a signed note from a health care provider documenting an unconfirmed acute illness, such as a viral upper respiratory illness or viral gastroenteritis, will not suffice).

Please note:

  • Our school nurse may contact you to inquire about the status of the child.
  • If your child is diagnosed with a health condition and prescribed an antibiotic, the child must complete 24 hours of the antibiotic medication prior to returning to school.

Diagnosis of chronic/pre-existing condition

If your child has a pre-existing condition that presents itself with COVID-like symptoms (ie: seasonal allergies, migraines, runny nose, cough, etc. found on the daily attestation),  the following must take place before the child can return to school:

  • A written diagnosis is obtained from the healthcare provider of a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms.
  • The note from the healthcare provider must detail the pre-existing condition, along with all-related symptoms, and must indicate that COVID is not suspected.

No evaluation by healthcare provider

If you choose NOT to have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider within 48 hours: 

  • Your child must remain out of school for at least 10 calendar days after the first symptom(s) is identified.
  • At the end of the 10 days:
    • ensure that all symptoms are improving
    • ensure that your child has been fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medication

Again, per New York State Department of Health regulations, if you do not have your child evaluated by a healthcare provider or produce a negative COVID test within 48 hours of symptom onset, Menands School is required to report this to the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH) for follow-up. Once reported, ACDOH will contact you to discuss the case and begin contact tracing. Our school nurse may contact you to inquire about the status of the child.

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