District to begin school-based COVID-19 testing

Beginning next week, Watervliet City Schools will proactively begin on-site COVID-19 testing for in-person learners and staff. The testing will occur on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on a rotating basis starting with WJSHS on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and WES on Friday, Jan. 22. We will test a minimum of 10% of in-person students, teachers and staff members who have consented or volunteered per week. Our school nurses will administer the tests at the start of each school day.

COVID-19 testing for students will be done only with parent/guardian permission. We encourage parents and guardians of in-person students who have not already done so, to complete a COVID-19 testing consent form online. Please remember to submit one form for each child in grades UPK-12 in your household.

Why are we testing?

On-site COVID testing is a precautionary strategy that could help keep our schools open for in-person teaching and learning. Testing is helpful for identifying cases that might otherwise go undetected. Although the state has not designated Albany County a red, orange or yellow zone, given the increasing infection rates in the Capital Region, we have decided to initiate testing as an added measure to protect the health and safety of our students and staff, and do our part to help limit the spread of the virus in our community.

About the test

We have spent the last several weeks preparing to test asymptomatic students and staff for COVID-19 with rapid tests provided by the New York State Department of Health. These rapid tests can produce results in 15 minutes, and involve a shallow nasal swab that is gentle enough for children of all ages. The videos below demonstrate the testing procedure that will be performed by school nurses.

COVID-19 Testing at WJSHS 

COVID-19 Testing at WES

For more information, download a fact sheet about the BinaxNOW COVID-19 test

Negative test results will be shared after all testing has concluded for the day. If an individual tests positive, we will follow COVID-19 protocol and ask that they get a diagnostic molecular test. The individual may not return to school until they either quarantine for 10 days or receive a negative result on the molecular test. Please note: Whitney Young Health offers molecular testing for students at our School-Based Health Center at WJSHS on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment. Please call 518-629-3270 for information or to schedule an appointment.

Health and safety measures continue

Reminder: It is especially important for in-person students and staff to complete the daily COVID-19 health screening before entering school or boarding the bus. 

Health and safety procedures in our schools will continue to include wearing masks, hand hygiene, social distancing of 6 feet or more, as well as cleaning and sanitizing protocols.

If you have any question, please contact Assistant Superintendent Don Stevens, who serves as the district’s COVID-19 Safety Coordinator. Call (518) 629-3456 or email: dstevens@vlietschools.org

(This information was sent to WCSD families and staff via One Call Now email on Jan. 14)