Testing & Contact Tracing Plan
Accurate as of January 19, 2021
Nassau BOCES and all Nassau County School Districts have a long-standing relationship with the Nassau County Department of Health in response to communicable disease. That relationship has been further developed and enhanced as we responded to COVID-19. Having been one of the hardest-hit Counties in the State and Nation many lessons were learned. This has led us to develop many of the strategies noted in this guidance which will assist all school districts and communities as we head towards the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. This document has been incorporated into the Nassau BOCES Reopening Plan to help address requirements for COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing. This is a living document that will be revised as needed to incorporate new information as provided through Federal, State and Local authorities.
1. COVID-19 Safety Coordinator (Administrator)
Nassau BOCES has designated in our Re-opening Plan a COVID-19 Safety Coordinator (Administrator) for each school building. This individual will be responsible for answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians of students regarding the COVID-19 Re-opening Plan and its implementation. The COVID-19 Safety Coordinator (Administrator) will also work closely with the Nassau County Department of Health and other schools to monitor public health conditions and jointly develop monitoring strategies. This individual will also be critical, along with our school nurses and medical director, in assisting the Nassau County Department of Health with contact tracing efforts.
The Nassau County Department of Health recommends that the COVID-19 Safety Coordinator (Administrator) and other school officials be trained in the basics of COVID-19 and contact tracing and suggests the COVID-19 Contact Tracing course offered by Johns Hopkins University➚. Nassau BOCES will require all COVID-19 Safety Coordinators (Administrators) to complete this program and recommend this training for other school officials.
3. Screening & Response Actions
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has developed a Reference Guide for Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 (K-12)➚. This document provides specific response actions guidance which may be considered in Plan development and includes a Screening Flow Chart, Staff Roles Flow Chart and Positive Screening Protocols Checklist. This is one of numerous resources considered in the development of our Plan.
Screening Flow Chart for COVID-19
NO FLAGS EXPOSURE
AT LEAST ONE SYMPTOM
(Fever, Difficulty Breathing, Loss of Taste or Smell)
PROCEED TO SCHOOL CANNOT GO TO SCHOOL CANNOT GO TO SCHOOL CANNOT GO TO SCHOOL Home for 10 days since exposure. Home for 10 days since first positive COVID-19 test.
If confirmed positive COVID-19 OR person has not been tested: 10 days since first symptoms, no fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) AND symptoms improvement can return to school.
If negative COVID-19 test: No fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) AND symptoms improvement can return to school.
If confirmed case other than COVID-19: Follow normal school policies to return to school.
The Nassau County Department of Health has a designated phone number for all clinical questions from school nurses and school medical directors at 516-227-9496. This number is not to be used by the general public or concerned parents but is to be used when a specific case or scenario requires clinical consultation with the health department by the school nursing staff or medical director. Questions from superintendents and administrators can be directed to 516-227-9408. General questions from the public will be referred to the New York State Coronavirus Hotline at 888-364-3065 or the Nassau County Department of Health COVID Hotline at 516-227-9570. Updates on Coronavirus in Nassau County can be received by texting COVID19NC to 888777 or by going to the Nassau County Website➚.
5. Testing & Contact Tracing
The Nassau County Department of Health receives all confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nassau County residents that are electronically transmitted from laboratories, by law. This does not include rapid tests (done at points of cares such as Urgent Cares) for which reliability and validity test are still on-going and are not automatically reported to Nassau County Department of Health, at this time. Confirmed cases in faculty, staff and administrators that live outside of Nassau County will be investigated by the jurisdiction that they reside in. In these cases, close communication will need to occur between the health departments of other jurisdictions, Nassau County and the school districts. Once the health department conducts its investigation, the school nurse or COVID-19 Safety Coordinator (Administrator) will be called and notified. Depending on the specifics of the case and potential exposures, additional close contacts will be elicited, and quarantine and/or notification may be determined. Very often, these determinations are made in partnership with the health department. It is recognized, that we can always be more restrictive than county health department recommendations.
6. How The New York State Contact Tracing Program Works (From NYS DOH)
If you test positive, a COVID Contact Tracer will connect you with the support and resources you may need through quarantine, such as help getting groceries or household supplies, child-care, medical care or supplies. The Tracer will work with you to identify and reach out via phone and text to anyone you’ve been in contact with while you were infectious to trace and contain the spread of the virus.
People who have come in close contact with someone who is positive are asked to stay home and limit their contact with others. By staying home during this time, IF you become sick yourself, you have not infected many others along the way. This is how we stop the spread!
Testing, medical and quarantine support for yourself and your loved ones will be arranged. We will not release your name to anyone. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as a private medical record.
This nation-leading program will place emphasis on areas with the highest rates of infection and on regions ready to open. The program will operate through the next flu season. It will be implemented in coordination with New Jersey and Connecticut.
Your caller ID will say “NYS Contact Tracing” (518-387-9993).
Please answer the phone so we can keep NY moving forward and stop the spread of COVID-19.
A contact tracer will:
- NEVER ask for your Social Security number
- NEVER ask for any private financial information
- NEVER ask for credit card information
- NEVER send you a link without proper authentication procedures
7. Testing Responsibility
In cooperation with the School District Medical Director, School Nurse, and the COVID-19 Safety Coordinator (Administrator) individuals exhibiting symptoms of Coronavirus will be referred to their personal physician for determination of appropriate treatment and the need to be tested. Nassau BOCES will also identify other sources in the community available for referring, sourcing, and administering testing, particularly in the event that large-scale testing is needed. Current testing sites available in Nassau County and throughout New York State can be accessed by going to the Find a Test Site Near You page of the New York State Department of Health website➚.
8. Test Results
Suspected staff as well as students who have been tested for COVID-19 or who have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, should remain at home and not come to school until results are known. Any close contacts of a pending case’s results should also remain at home and isolated until the results of the test are known. A positive result will require additional isolation of the case and close contacts elicited as described above. Quarantine and/or notification will be determined by the health department in conjunction with the school district. Laboratory testing may take days until results are determined. The Nassau County Department of Health has no control over laboratory testing.
9. Positive Cases & Contact Tracing
Often, a staff member or student (parent) may know the results of a COVID-19 test before the health department. In this situation, the COVID-19 Safety Coordinator (Administrator) will report the case to the designated number, previously noted, at 516-227-9496. The Nassau County Department of Health will attempt to confirm the case. If it is confirmed, then additional close contacts may be elicited depending on the specifics of the environment, case and potential exposures. If the case is not able to be confirmed, (often due to laboratory or electronic delays), then the we may make own determination regarding close contacts and potential exposure and exclusions at that time until further information is known. The health department is available to the COVID-19 Safety Coordinator (Administrator), if additional consultation is needed.
10. Close Contact
According to the CDC, a close contact is defined as:
- within 6 feet of a positive case for more than 10-15 minutes for 48 hours before case’s symptom onset to case’s isolation;
- exposed to or give care to positive case;
- direct touching;
- shared food;
- exposed to sneezing or coughing or talking.
*This also assumes that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) has not been utilized.
Close contacts are required to be quarantined according to NYS Department of Health and are monitored by Nassau County and NYS contact tracing efforts. In some cases, we may decide to make notifications to other students and staff in the classroom or building who are not close contacts. These individuals should be monitored for signs and symptoms but are not part of the contact tracing effort.
11. Confidential Information
The Nassau County Department of Health will only discuss names of cases with appropriate school personnel consistent with HIPAA. No parents or other students will be informed of names or identifying information. We will never email names of individuals in recognition of the fact that email is not secure.