Return to Headlines

RCSD Authorized to Begin Test-to-Stay Program: 12/10/21

 

December 10, 2021

Dear RCSD Community,

The Westchester County Department of Health has authorized the RCSD to begin using a Test-to-Stay program. Test-to-Stay allows students who have been exposed to a COVID-positive individual to be tested daily, rather than having to quarantine for 10 days. Students can continue to go to school if the daily test is negative and they show no symptoms. The program will begin operating this coming Monday, December 13. Any family whose student is notified they must quarantine due to exposure from this point forward is eligible to participate in the program.

Test-to-Stay is a relatively new concept, but one that has worked out well in the states who are currently using it (Massachusetts and Utah) and in others that have been piloting it (Georgia). 

The RCSD is one of the first Districts in New York to implement the program because we are already designated a limited services laboratory as a result of our surveillance testing program established for over a year.  

Please see the below Q&A with more information about the Test-to-Stay program. We will also post this document to the homepage of the District website and on the Health Services page.

I will hold two Google Meet Q&A sessions for parents/guardians to learn more about the program:

Thank you for your patience while we waited for County approval. This is an exciting development that will help us keep students in our schools and keep the community safe.

 

Sincerely,

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Rye City School District

Test-to-Stay Program FAQs

December 2021

Test-to-Stay is a strategy being used by school districts across the country to allow unvaccinated, asymptomatic students who have been exposed to a COVID-positive individual to continue to attend school by conducting daily rapid COVID testing before the start of the school day. The Department of Health has issued very strict guidelines for school districts participating in Test-to-Stay that we must follow; there is no flexibility in Test-to-Stay. Participation in the Test-to-Stay program is completely optional and is the choice of the individual family. Test-to-Stay only allows for a student to attend the instructional component of the school day - it does not allow students to participate in extracurricular, club or athletic activities for the duration of the testing period. Students must continue to quarantine when not in school, i.e., before and after-school and over the weekends or on holidays. 

Where does the daily testing occur? Daily testing for students participating in Test-to-Stay will be administered at the Rye City School District Central Offices at 555 Theodore Fremd Avenue from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on school days.

How does my child participate in the Test-to-Stay program? Once a student is identified as a close contact of a COVID-positive individual, the parent/guardian will be notified of the exposure. If the student is showing any symptoms of COVID, they must quarantine for 10 days. When notified of the exposure, the parent/guardian will receive information regarding the Test-to-Stay program. If the student is not showing symptoms of COVID, the parent/guardian may choose for the student to participate in the Test-to-Stay program. The students may remain in school as long as the student’s test results are negative. 

Is there a fee to participate in the Test-to-Stay Program? No, participation is free 

What if I choose not to have my student participate in the program?  Students will be required to quarantine for 10 days after exposure per the DOH if they do not participate in the Test-to-Stay program.

How many days must the student be tested? Students must be tested for each school day for seven days following exposure to COVID. Exposure day is considered Day # 0. Students may not miss a day of testing. Non-school (i.e., weekend days or holidays) are not counted in the seven day testing period. Tests will not be administered on weekends or holidays. After the seven days, students may attend school without being tested, but must continue to quarantine outside of the school hours until their 10 day quarantine is complete.

What if my student is identified as being exposed and is notified days after the exposure date?  Testing will be adjusted accordingly and students will need to test for the remaining days in order to continue to attend in-person school.

Is a student participating in the Test-to-Stay program allowed to participate in athletics or extracurricular activities? No. According to the Department of Health, students in the program may only attend school for academic purposes.

What test is used for the Test-to-Stay program? The BinaxNOW rapid nasal swab test is used for the Test-to-Stay program. Once the test is administered, results are available in approximately 15 minutes. The test is a nasal swab and is administered quickly and non-invasively.  

How will I know the results of my student’s test? Results will be available 15 minutes after the test. The parent/guardians will wait in their vehicle until the results are available. Results will be communicated with the student’s designated school clearing them for attendance. 

What happens if the student tests positive during the daily testing period? If a student tests positive during the testing period then they will be required to quarantine for 10 days. 

What happens if my student misses a day of testing while in the Test-to-Stay program? A student may not miss a day of testing on a school day. They will be required to quarantine for the rest of their required quarantine period.

What if my student was COVID-positive in the last 90 days? A student who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days is not required to quarantine or participate in testing. 

What happens if the student begins to show symptoms of COVID? Any individual who is showing COVID symptoms should isolate immediately and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.

If my student takes a PCR test and is negative, can he/she exit the Test-to-Stay program and return to in-person school? No, a negative PCR test result will not allow an exposed student to return to in-person school or exit Test-to-Stay or quarantine.

When participating in Test-to-Stay, is my child allowed to participate in regular activities in and out of school? As per the Department of Health, a student participating in Test-to-Stay is only released from quarantine for the academic component of the school day. Students may not participate in any before/after school clubs or extracurricular activities or athletics in or out of school. Additionally, the student must quarantine on days when school is not in session, e.g., Saturday and Sunday.  

Does a student who has been exposed to COVID in their home by a family member qualify for Test-to-Stay? As complete isolation of family members in the same home is difficult to maintain, after seeking advice from the Westchester County Department of Health, we have determined that exposure within a household will not qualify an individual for the test-to-stay program.

Does an individual who is fully vaccinated need to quarantine and/or test after exposure to a COVID-positive individual? A fully-vaccinated individual is defined as one who is two full weeks past the second vaccination dose. A fully-vaccinated individual who is not showing any symptoms is not required to quarantine nor participate in Test-to-Stay as per the Department of Health.

*The NYS DOH recently clarified eligibility for participation in the Test-to-Stay program. Test-to-Stay only applies to RCSD students for in-school exposures. Students exposed to COVID outside of school are not eligible to participate in Test-to-Stay in any school district.