Dutchess BOCES will be following the Governor's decision that effective Wednesday, March 2nd, masks will be optional for all students and staff in our school buildings and on buses.
Updated 6-22-2022 Weekly COVID tests no longer required
Updated 2-27-2022 Mask Requirement Ends Wednesday
Updated 1-18-2022 As directed by New York State: If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, it's important that you know the steps to follow to protect yourself and those around you, and to reduce the spread of the virus. Multi-layer mitigation strategies in place in schools (masking, physical distancing, vaccination or testing of staff, screening testing of students, etc.) are expected to lessen the spread of COVID-19 within schools. NYS is moving away from formal contact identification and tracing and toward individual responsibility for isolating and quarantining. Please continue reading for the latest changes to Dutchess BOCES protocols OR read the Jan. 18 letter from Deputy Superintendent Jodi DeLucia.
As per New York State: If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, it's important that you know the steps to follow to protect yourself and those around you, and to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Multi-layer mitigation strategies in place in schools (masking, physical distancing, vaccination or testing of staff, screening testing of students, etc.) are expected to lessen the spread of COVID-19 within schools.
NYS Department of Heath advises that exposed, fully vaccinated individuals who are quarantined may attend or work at school after an exposure. However, these individuals should continue to quarantine outside of school, including for extra-curricular, after-school or community activities. BOCES is offering a test-to-stay program for those who were exposed.
Background information from the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH): With the announcement of the decision by New York State to move away from formal contact identification and tracing, and toward individual responsibility for isolating and quarantining, the State issued additional guidance related specifically to schools. This change is due to the high prevalence of disease; when omicron is so prevalent in the community, the assumption is there is widespread exposure via multiple channels. As a result, the shift in strategy requires:
- Those who know they are positive to isolate themselves.
- Symptomatic individuals self-isolate and obtain timely testing to determine if they have been infected with COVID-19.
- If they test positive, informing their known close contacts.
- For those who learn they are contacts, self-quarantining as appropriate.
What if you test positive?
Isolation is for individuals who have been infected with COVID-19, even if they don't have symptoms. You isolate in order to prevent spreading the virus to others.
If you test positive on a home test, report your positive result to the DCBH.
If you receive a positive COVID-19 test result, regardless of your vaccination status, follow these steps:
- Isolate for at least 5 complete days, with Day 0 being the date your symptoms started or you were tested for COVID-19. Follow these important steps to keep yourself and others safe:
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
- Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Avoid contact with other family members and pets.
- Don't share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
- Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.
- Day 1 of isolation begins the day after you became symptomatic OR the day after your specimen was collected, if you do/did not have symptoms.
- Isolation ends after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without medication and your other symptoms have improved (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation).
- If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever has resolved for 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications.
For ALL OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES PLEASE REFER TO THE NYS WEBSITE from where this information was summarized.
Quarantine is for someone who has been exposed to the Covid-19 virus through close contact with someone who is infected, but has not tested positive for COVID-19 and does not have symptoms. Quarantine is important because even before a person has tested positive for COVID-19 or has any symptoms, they can still spread the virus without knowing.
While schools no longer have the authority to mandate quarantine periods on behalf of the department of health, we do still have a responsibility to inform our community members of known close contacts with positive cases in our schools. As per the NYS guidance, "schools should continue to inform students and families of potential exposures: When known close contact with someone who tested positive for or has symptoms of COVID-19 occurs on the school campus, for example, in a classroom, schools should at least notify parents and guardians of affected students."
- Anyone ages 12 or older who has completed the primary series of recommended vaccine, and is eligible for a CDC recommended booster shot but has not received it.
- However, these individuals may attend or work at school, where multi-layer mitigation strategies are in place
- Anyone who has not completed a primary vaccine series.
- Anyone who is not vaccinated.
How will BOCES tell me about an exposure at school?
BOCES protocol for notifying families will be to use our School Messenger system, which will send an email, text, and robo call notification to our families. Individuals who learn they have been exposed will be expected to complete their own New York State Quarantine Self-Attestation and engage in a testing strategy so they may still attend school.
- Anyone ages 12 or older and who has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including boosters, if eligible and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.
- Anyone ages 5-11 years old who has completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Anyone who has had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (tested positive using a viral test, e.g. antigen or PCR).
What Should I do?
- Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0).
- Get tested at least 5 days after the date of last close contact with someone with COVID19.
- If test is positive or COVID-19 symptoms develop, isolate from other people and follow recommendations in the Isolation section of this guidance document.
- Anyone who had COVID-19 within the last 90 days and has since recovered and remained symptom free, does not need to get tested after close contact with someone with COVID-19.
How to Quarantine:
- Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after the date of the last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of contact (exposure) is considered day 0.
- Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home, if possible.
- For 10 days after the date of the last close contact with someone with COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4◦F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms.
For additional details and information please review the NYS Isolation & Quarantine Guidance Document from which this was summarized.
Assistance with COVID-19 Testing:
To assist families in a testing strategy, any family that needs to quarantine a student at home may choose to have the student participate in a BOCES daily COVID-19 rapid test on any day that school is in session, for the first 5 days of the required quarantine period. Individuals should continue to quarantine outside of school, including for extra-curricular, after-school or community activities. Students must receive permission from their principal through the COVID Coordinator to use this option.
These daily tests will be provided at each school site. Pre-registration is required and can be done via the form at https://bit.ly/3GmFjrd. Please note that you only need to register one time to be in the testing system.
Monitoring and Screening
Employees are encouraged to monitor their health, and to stay home if any symptoms are present. Those who have symptoms are required to either provide a doctor’s note clearing a return to work, or a negative COVID test. BOCES will continue to offer Test to Stay screening. This does not take the place of recommendations by medical professional.
All individuals entering a Dutchess BOCES building must wear a mask. Only visitors/vendors will be required to fill out the Daily COVID Questionnaire (link is external).
Staff and students have the responsibility to assess their wellness at home each day. Anyone who feels unwell, has possible COVID symptoms, has been a direct contact to a person with COVID, or has tested positive for COVID, must stay home and contact their supervisor or school office.
Alternative High School (AHS) – Erin Piquet, 845-486-4840, ext. 3047
Career and Technical Institute (CTI) – Jennifer Kozielski, 845-486-8001, ext. 4511
Salt Point Center (SPC) – Melissa Murphy, 845-486-8004, ext. 5407
In-District Program – Rebecca Green, 845-486-4840, ext. 3020
Pegasus Program – Jennifer Kozielski, 845-486-8001, ext. 4511
Addendum to 2021 reopening plan (Updated 9/9/21)