Important Update on COVID-19 Guidance from NYS and COVID-19 Testing in Schools

In response to increasing COVID-19 positivity rates across New York, the state has begun categorizing areas with high rates of infection as yellow, orange or red zones. (Read more about NYS Cluster Action Initiative) Once a region is placed in one of these zones, various restrictions for businesses, gatherings and schools take effect. The Watervliet City School District is NOT currently in one of these zones.

Yellow and orange indicate “warning zones.” As positivity rates continue to climb, it is possible that Albany County could be designated a Yellow Zone in the near future and we must be prepared for that. Our priority is to keep our schools open safely for in-person learning and teaching, which will require us to comply with certain testing protocols if or when our community is identified as a Yellow Zone.

Parental Consent for Testing

We want to make our families aware that schools in yellow zones are required to test 20% of in-person learners and teachers/staff per building. If our school district becomes subject to Yellow Zone requirements, any testing of students would be done only with the consent of parents/guardians. We ask that parents/guardians complete and submit a parental consent form for COVID-19 testing for each child in their family by Friday, December 11. 

We can assure our families and students that testing protocols will be safe and efficient, and will provide us with data that can be used for important health and safety decision-making for our schools. Individual test results will be shared only with families, the school nurse and the local Department of Health.

The process involves non-invasive, rapid testing that our school nurses will administer to in-person learners and staff members over the course of a month following a Yellow Zone designation. There will be no cost for these tests. Testing also will continue to be available for students from Whitney Young School-Based Health Center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment, regardless of zone designation.

As of now, our community has not been designated as a Yellow Zone and planning for COVID testing at school is being done as a proactive measure. We encourage our families to continue to check your email and the district website for information and updates. If you have questions, please contact your child’s building principal or Assistant Superintendent Don Stevens, who serves as the district’s COVID-19 Safety Coordinator.

Thank you for your continued partnership in the effort to keep our schools open for teaching and learning, and to promote health and safety throughout our community.

(This message was sent to WCSD families via One Call Now email on Wednesday, Dec. 2)