Addressing Symptoms/Positive Results of COVID-19

In alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the New York State Department of Health, the district will implement procedures for the 2020-21 school year that address both the identification of symptoms and potential cases of COVID-19, and confirmed positive test results. The CDC list of COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If a person in the district presents with these symptoms, or if we receive notification of a positive or potential case, the district will collaborate with the Albany County Department of Health in this process (In cases in which the health department notifies the district of a suspected or confirmed case, this process will begin at #3.):

1) Immediately isolate the individual and send them home. 

  • Students: A parent or guardian will need to pick up students.
  • Employees: Must notify the Human Resources Division of their absence for the remainder of that work day, and enter all subsequent days of absence in the district’s Absence Management system. Human Resources will assist employees in accounting for their time appropriately.

2) Alert the county health department.

3) Coordinate with the county health department contact tracing. Based on health department guidance, an interview will be conducted with the person demonstrating symptoms and/or testing positive in order to gather contact information and send the information to the health department.

4) Based on health department guidance, affected individuals and those that are considered contacts will be notified and informed that they should begin quarantine while waiting for the further instructions from the health department. 

  • Note: A contact is considered someone who spent more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 6 feet from the infected person, starting from 48 hours before symptoms and going forward, cumulatively.

5) For students in quarantine: The instructional program will be virtual. The district will assure printed work or a Chromebook with Internet access is available. Meals will be arranged according to the district’s Food Service guidelines. 

6) For employees in quarantine: Employees who exhibit symptoms while at work are required to reach out the building’s school nurse office and notify their supervisor as soon as they are aware. School nurses and supervisors will speak with the employee to validate the concern and determine if there are any immediate exposures at the work location. Employees must enter all subsequent days of absence in the district’s Absence Management system. Human Resources will additionally monitor employees who are directed to stay home so they are placed on the appropriate leave (i.e., Families First Coronavirus Response Act leave).

7) The district will follow health department guidance regarding the appropriate notification to the impacted school or building. The purpose of the notification is to inform the impacted school or building community of a positive case of COVID-19 and the next steps.

8) The district will arrange for deep cleaning and disinfection of all the involved spaces. 

  • Note: The process for determining a possible school or building closure will be determined in alignment with the procedures described in the School Closures section of this plan. 

Please reference the following sections for additional information about this process. 

Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 safety coordinator, Dr. Laura Staff, at the Health Services Office, (518) 475-6730, or at lstaff@albany.k12.ny.us.

For more information about how health and safety protocols, trainings and notifications will be communicated to students, families and employees, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of this plan.


COVID-19 screening

Students

The district has developed resources to educate parents, guardians and students regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening measures that must be conducted each morning before coming to school.

At school, the district will implement screening practices that include mandatory daily temperature checks for all students before entering the building. The district will deny access to the building for any student with a temperature greater or equal to 100°F, or will direct the student directly to a dedicated isolation area to await pickup by a parent or guardian. Please refer to the “Symptoms of COVID-19 at school” and “Return to school after illness” sections below for more information. You also can read more about this process for students in the Health Screening, Hygiene and Safety section of this plan.

Employees

The district will provide all employees with training on expectations on reporting symptoms of COVID-19, positive COVID-19 test results or possible exposures.

Employees will be instructed to complete a daily screener, which will prompt them, if they indicate they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, to not report to work. Once the screener triggers a possible case, the district is notified so it may begin to investigate the concern. 

The screener notifies a team of district staff that includes the district’s medical director, health services coordinator and assistant human resources administrator. The health services coordinator validates if the employee is in fact exhibiting symptoms versus an error in completing the screener, then escalates the possible cases to the medical director to reach out to the employee to understand the facts of each case.

Employees are to stay home while the facts are evaluated. While at home, employees are to submit their absences into the district's Absence Management system. Human Resources will additionally monitor employees who are directed to stay home so they are placed on the appropriate leave (i.e., Families First Coronavirus Response Act leave).

The medical director then contacts the Albany County Department of Health to determine next steps and appropriate notifications that are to be made. The health department then initiates contact tracing procedures as well as notifying the district regarding next steps related to quarantine, building cleaning, disinfecting and site-based closure processes if required. For more information about the notification process, please refer to our Communication/Family and Community Engagement section.

Visitors on campus

No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses in order to ensure the safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff. Parents and guardians will report to the main office or reception area of each building and not go beyond the check-in point unless authorized to do so by the building administrator. Parents and guardians will need to wear masks or face coverings and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

The district will require authorized visitors to facilities to wear face coverings and will restrict those visitors in their access to our facilities. Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed in this plan.


Management of ill persons

The district requires students, faculty or staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day to report to the nurse’s office. If there are several students waiting to see the school nurse, students must wait at least 6 feet apart. The district has designated areas to separate individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 from others until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness. One area will be used to treat injuries, provide medications or nursing treatments, and the other area will be used for assessing and caring for ill students and staff. Both areas will be supervised by an adult and have easy access to a bathroom and sink with hand hygiene supplies. 

  • Albany High School
    • COVID-19 isolation areas
      • Citizenship Academy conference room, building 1
      • Innovation Academy nurse’s suite, building 2
      • Abrookin Career and Technical Center conference room
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Albany High School – Abrookin Vocational Center
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Room A058
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Academy Park – Administrative Offices
    • Employees only; employee goes home if symptoms present
  • Albany International Center
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Room 201
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Arbor Hill Elementary School
    • COVID-19 isolation area: TBD
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Albany School of Humanities
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Nurse’s suite conference room
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Delaware Community School
    • COVID-19 isolation area:Music room
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Eagle Point Elementary School
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Nurse’s office
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Room 109 or 110
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Giffen Memorial Elementary School
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Nurse’s suite
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Harriet Gibbons Student Service Center – Main administrative offices (75 Watervliet Ave.)
    • Employees only; employee goes home if symptoms present
  • Harriet Gibbons Student Service Center – Essex Street offices
    • Employees only; employee goes home if symptoms present
  • Montessori Magnet School
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Area within nurse’s office
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • New Scotland Elementary School
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Nurse’s suite
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • North Albany Middle School
    • COVID-19 isolation area:Room 201
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Pine Hills Elementary School
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Nurse’s office
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Philip J. Schuyler Achievement Academy
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Room 102 suite
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Sheridan Preparatory Academy
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Main office conference room
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Room 180
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Nurse’s office
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office
  • William S Hackett Middle School
    • COVID-19 isolation area: Room 120
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurse's office

PPE requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals includes both standard and transmission-based precautions. In areas with moderate to substantial community transmission, eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield) should be added. When caring for a suspected or confirmed individual with COVID-19, gloves, a gown, eye protection and a fit-tested N-95 respirator will be used, if available. If an N-95 respirator is not available, a surgical face mask and face shield will be used.

School health office cleaning will occur after each use of cots, bathrooms and health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes). Health office equipment will be cleaned following manufacturer’s directions.

Disposable items will be used as much as possible (e.g., disposable pillow protectors, disposable thermometers, disposable thermometer sheaths or probes, disposable otoscope specula).


Symptoms of COVID-19 at school

The district requires students or staff with a temperature (100°F or greater), signs of illness and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.

Students will be supervised at all times in a designated isolation area while awaiting transport home and will maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent or guardian. Students or employees will be referred to visit their healthcare provider and given resources on COVID-19 testing, which will be strongly encouraged.


Return to school after illness

The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the Albany County Health Department, about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. 

This protocol includes:

  1. Documentation from a healthcare provider following evaluation 
  2. Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result 
  3. Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19-positive, release from isolation

The district will refer to the health department’s Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

Employees who have a suspected or confirmed case are put in contact with the district’s medical director and the Human Resources Division to monitor their progress and collect necessary medical clearances before they are allowed to return to work.

The district requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine and are asymptomatic before returning to school or work in-person. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to in-person activities will be conducted in coordination with the district’s medical director and the Albany County Health Department.