2021-2022 COVID-19 Health and Safety Guide
Based on CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools and the American Academy of Pediatrics (July/August 2021) and the NYSED Health and Safety Guide for the 2021-2022 School Year (August 2021)
- Guiding Principles
- Section 1: Prevention Strategies to Reduce Transmission of COVID-19
- Section 2: Additional Considerations for Orange-Ulster BOCES
This plan is grounded in the following guiding principles:
- Safeguarding the health and safety of students, staff and all visitors.
- Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the Fall 2021 is a priority.
- Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Masks must be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older). Consistent and correct mask use is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing, to reduce transmission risk.
- Screening, ventilation, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
- Students, Teachers, and Staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
- Orange-Ulster BOCES serves children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this plan emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including students, teachers, staff, and other members of their households.
- COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protect people, including students, teachers, and staff, who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels.
- Orange-Ulster BOCES will monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies (e.g., physical distancing, screening testing).
This COVID-19 Emergency Operations Plan outlines strategies for Orange-Ulster BOCES to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe operations. Therefore, this plan emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including students, teachers, staff, and other members of their households affiliated with Orange-Ulster BOCES.
Orange-Ulster BOCES recognizes that schools are an important part of the infrastructure of communities. They provide safe and supportive learning environments for students that support social and emotional development, provide access to critical services, and improve life outcomes. They also employ people, and enable parents, guardians, and caregivers to work. Though COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in school settings, multiple studies have shown that transmission rates within school settings, when multiple prevention strategies are in place, are typically lower than – or similar to – community transmission levels. CDC’s science brief on Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs summarizes evidence on COVID-19 among children and adolescents and what is known about preventing transmission in schools and Early Care and Education programs.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), opening schools generally does not significantly increase community transmission, particularly when guidance outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO), 3 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is followed. There are still possibilities for transmission of SARSCoV-2, especially for individuals and families who have chosen not to be vaccinated or are not eligible to be vaccinated.
In addition, SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged that may increase the risk of transmission and result in worsening illness. However, the AAP believes that, at this point in the pandemic, given what we know about low rates of in-school transmission when proper prevention measures are used, together with the availability of effective vaccines for those age 12 years and up, that the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risks in almost all circumstances.
Orange-Ulster BOCES will work with local public health officials, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, including those related to privacy, to determine the prevention strategies needed in their area by monitoring levels of community transmission (i.e., low, moderate, substantial, or high) and local vaccine coverage.
Orange-Ulster BOCES will have a mixed population of both people who are fully vaccinated and people who are not fully vaccinated. Elementary schools primarily serve children under 12 years of age who are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine at this time. Other schools may also have students who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Schools may have a low percentage of students and staff fully vaccinated despite vaccine eligibility. These variations require Orange-Ulster BOCES administrators to make decisions about the use of COVID-19 prevention strategies in their schools to protect people who are not fully vaccinated.
Together with local public health officials, school administrators at Orange-Ulster BOCES will consider multiple factors when making decisions about implementing layered prevention strategies against COVID-19. Decisions will be based on the school population, families and students served, as well as their communities. The primary factors to consider include:
- Level of community transmission of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the community and among students, teachers, and staff.
- COVID-19 outbreaks or increasing trends in the school or surrounding community.
- Ages of children served by K-12 schools and the associated social and behavioral factors that may affect risk of transmission and the feasibility of different prevention strategies.
Consistent and Correct Mask Use
Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
Staying home when sick and getting tested
Contact tracing, in combination with isolation and quarantine
a. Close Contact
Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
a. Emergency Response
c. Covid-19 Testing
d. Returning to Work and Following Illness
e. Pertinent Exposure Returning to School
f. Following COVID-19 Diagnosis and Subsequent Isolation Period
g. Vaccinated Individuals or Previous COVID-19 Diagnosis
Cleaning and disinfection These COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protect people, including students, teachers, and staff, who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels.
1. Vaccination Awareness
Achieving high levels of COVID-19 vaccination among eligible students as well as teachers, staff, and household members is one of the most critical strategies to help Orange-Ulster BOCES safely resume full operations.
Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at low risk of symptomatic or severe infection. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection or transmit COVID-19 to others than people who are not fully vaccinated.
OUBOCES will encourage vaccinations among teachers, staff, families, and eligible students by providing information about COVID-19 vaccination, encouraging vaccine trust and confidence, and establishing supportive policies and practices that make getting vaccinated as easy and convenient as possible.
Vaccine Awareness Information:
- OUBOCES will direct staff and students upon request to vaccines.gov to find out where teachers, staff, students, and their families can get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the community and promote COVID-19 vaccination locations near schools.
- OUBOCES will offer flexible, supportive sick leave options (e.g., paid sick leave) for employees to get vaccinated or who have side effects after vaccination.
- OUBOCES will provide students and families flexible options for excused absence to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and for possible side effects after vaccination.
2. Consistent and Correct Mask Use
All OUBOCES teachers, staff, and students should consistently and correctly wear a mask to protect others as well as themselves. Consistent and correct mask use is especially important indoors and in crowded settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Indoors: Mask use at Orange-Ulster BOCES is required for all students, teachers, and staff regardless of vaccination status.
- Outdoors: In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors, unless in crowded settings or where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Based on the needs of the community, Orange-Ulster BOCES school administrators have opted to make mask use universally required (i.e., required regardless of vaccination status) in the school. Reasons for this are:
- Increasing or substantial or high COVID-19 transmission within the surrounding community.
- Increasing community transmission of a variant that is spread more easily among children and adolescents or is resulting in more severe illness from COVID-19 among children and adolescents.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends universal masking in school at this time for the following reasons:
- A significant portion of the student population is not eligible for vaccination.
- Protection of unvaccinated students from COVID-19 and to reduce transmission.
- Continued concerns for variants that are more easily spread among children, adolescents, and adults.
- An added benefit of universal masking is protection of students and staff against other respiratory illnesses that would take time away from school.
When masks are worn by teachers and school staff in the workplace, the masks should meet one of the following criteria:
- CDC mask recommendations
- ASTM International Standard Specification for Barrier Face Coverings
- NIOSH Workplace Performance and Workplace Performance Plus masks
Although Orange-Ulster BOCES does not manage transportation for our students, the CDC’s Order regarding masking applies to all public transportation conveyances including school buses. Passengers and drivers must wear a mask on school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems, subject to the exclusions and exemptions in CDC’s Order.
3. Physical Distancing
OUBOCES will follow CDC studies from the 2020-2021 school year, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully reopen while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies. Prevention strategies may include indoor masking, screening testing, cohorting, improved ventilation, handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick with symptoms of infectious illness including COVID-19, and regular cleaning to help reduce transmission risk.
Cohorting If Needed: Cohorting means keeping people together in a small group and having each group stay together throughout an entire day. Cohorting can be used to limit the number of students, teachers, and staff who come in contact with each other, especially when it is challenging to maintain physical distance, such as among young children, and particularly in areas of moderate-tohigh transmission levels. The use of cohorting can limit the spread of COVID-19 between cohorts but should not replace other prevention measures within each group.
Improving ventilation is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air. Along with other preventive strategies, including wearing a well-fitting, multi-layered mask, bringing fresh outdoor air into a building helps keep virus particles from concentrating inside. This can be done by opening multiple doors and windows, using child-safe fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows, and making changes to the HVAC or air filtration systems. Orange-Ulster BOCES encourages teaching staff to keep in-place HVAC/H&V units in the on-position, and open windows when safe to do so to encourage the introduction of fresh air to student occupied spaces. Orange-Ulster BOCES has increased the amount of fresh air being introduced into the systems that provide HVAC to our facilities where available. Filtration has also been improved in areas that can accommodate more enhanced filtration.
During transportation, bus operators can open or crack windows in buses and other forms of transportation, if doing so does not pose a safety risk. Keeping windows open a few inches improves air circulation.
5. Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
Staff, Students and visitors at OUBOCES will be encouraged to practice handwashing and respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes) to keep from getting and spreading infectious illnesses including COVID-19. OUBOCES can monitor and reinforce these behaviors and provide adequate hand washing supplies.
- OUBOCES will provide resources to remind everyone in the facility to wash hands frequently and assist young children with handwashing.
- OUBOCES will provide hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol (for teachers, staff, and older students who can safely use hand sanitizer).
- OUBOCES will provide hand washing stations at the entrances to our facilities.
6. Staying Home When Sick and Getting Tested
OUBOCES students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of schools and prevent spread to others. It also is essential for people who are not fully vaccinated to quarantine after a recent exposure to someone with COVID-19. OUBOCES will allow flexible, non-punitive, and supportive paid sick leave policies and practices that encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of retaliation, loss of pay, or loss of employment level and provide excused absences for students who are sick. CDC guidance provides that people who are fully vaccinated and do not have COVID-19 symptoms do not need to quarantine or get tested after an exposure to someone with COVID-19.
a. Daily Health Screening:
To ensure all faculty, staff, and students comply with daily screening requirements. Prior to entering all OUBOCES locations, staff, parents/guardians, visitors and vendors must complete a medical screening questionnaire. Students and staff should complete this screening prior to arriving at school via the link sent each morning via email from “Raptor Screening”. Visitors and parents/guardians picking students up must complete a health screening at security stations. Staff will be required to monitor their own temperature prior to arrival on campus and throughout the day. Staff whose symptoms change from a “NO” to “YES” during the day must contact their supervisor immediately and await further instruction. Students should notify their instructor, and the nurse should be called. Parents will be provided with a written protocol on how to assist with daily health screenings at home prior to students leaving for school.
- Students and visitors will be screened for temperature at arrival.
- Parents must monitor for temperatures and symptoms prior to sending their student on a bus, however students will be screened upon arrival for temperatures.
- Visitors will have their temperatures taken upon arrival.
- Temperature screening equipment will identify temperatures 100.0 degrees fahrenheit and greater. Individuals whose temperature exceeds the threshold will be brought to an isolation room to receive further evaluation from a nurse. All staff and students will be accounted for using a written log located in each classroom/ office space. All visitors/contractors will complete the building log located at each security station. For multiple individuals entering the building simultaneously, they will be required to stand at the demarcated locations on the floor, maintaining social distance until they can be signed in and screened.
- Corridors will be created where individuals can enter the facility when in-person screening is utilized.
- Only after all individuals have been accounted for, cleared through the medical screening and wearing proper face coverings, will access to the building be granted. Should a person fail the medical screening, specific procedures will be followed. Please reference the Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Case section for specifics.
b. Screening Testing:
Screening testing identifies infected people, including those with or without symptoms (or before development of symptoms) who may be contagious, so that measures can be taken to prevent further transmission. At Orange-Ulster BOCES, screening testing may be used to promptly identify and isolate cases, quarantine those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated, and identify clusters to reduce the risk to in-person education. CDC guidance provides that people who are fully vaccinated do not need to participate in screening testing and do not need to quarantine if they do not have any symptoms; though decisions regarding screening testing may be made at the state or local level.
Screening testing may be utilized at Orange-Ulster BOCES if there are substantial or high community transmission levels. At this time, Orange-Ulster BOCES does not plan to implement on site testing, and instead will suggest that individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should be referred to their medical provider.
8. Contact Tracing in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine
OUBOCES will continue to collaborate with state and local health departments, to the extent allowable by privacy laws and other applicable laws, to confidentially provide information about people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. This allows identifying which students, teachers, and staff with positive COVID-19 test results should isolate, and which close contacts should quarantine.
Orange-Ulster BOCES will report, to the extent allowable by applicable privacy laws, new diagnoses of COVID-19 to their state or local health department as soon as they are informed. School officials should notify, to the extent allowable by applicable privacy laws, teachers, staff, and families of students who were close contacts as soon as possible (within the same day if possible) after they are notified that someone in the school has tested positive. Fully vaccinated people who were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 but do NOT have COVID-19 symptoms do not need to quarantine or be tested.
a. Close Contact:
Workers without close contact with the person who is sick can return to work immediately after disinfection. OUBOCES will continue to assist the Orange County Department of Health with contact tracing in order to expedite notification to individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 in accordance with Guidance on the Contacts of a Close or Proximate Contact of a Confirmed or Suspected Case of COVID-19 issued by the New York State Department of Health.
Close Contact through Proximity and Duration of Exposure is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). An infected person can spread SARS-CoV-2 starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date), until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation.
- Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step that people can take to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. However, the type of masks used and whether they are used consistently and correctly varies throughout the general population. Except in K–12 indoor classroom settings as described above, mask use is not considered when defining a close contact during case investigation and contact tracing, regardless of whether the person diagnosed with COVID-19 or the person exposed to SARS-CoV-2 was wearing a mask.
Exception: In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) where both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks; and other K–12 school prevention strategies (such as universal and correct mask use, physical distancing, increased ventilation) were in place in the K–12 school setting. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.
Public Health Recommendations:
Except in certain circumstances, people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should quarantine. However, the following people with recent exposure may NOT need to quarantine:
- People who have been fully vaccinated.
- People who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last three months.
A number of factors can influence a person’s risk of exposure to COVID-19, including the type, proximity, and duration of their exposure, environmental factors (such as crowding and ventilation), vaccination status, prior COVID-19 infection, and mask use.
In order to properly identify those who are direct or proximate contacts of the infected individual, the following has been established:
- All classrooms, offices, break rooms and separate buildings (maintenance buildings, etc.) will require “signing in” of all persons who enter these spaces. Anyone entering these spaces must sign in and out regardless of the amount of time spent in the space. The logs for each space will be forwarded to StaySafe@ouboces.org at the end of each work day.
- Custodians, maintenance personnel, technicians and other staff who must move about because of the nature of their job responsibilities must maintain a personal log and submit to StaySafe@ouboces.org at the end of each workday.
9. Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Cases:
a. Emergency Response:
OUBOCES staff, usually the school nurse or program principal, will immediately complete the Orange County Department of Health Call Center Pre K-12 Reporting Form when notified of a positive student or staff member. This form will be forwarded to the COVID Compliance Office to initiate reporting of the case to the DOH as well as begin pulling contact tracing sheets from the archive. Sheets will be forwarded to the program POC who will then identify all individuals who are considered close contacts. Based on this information, the Orange County Department of Health Close Contact Identification for Contact Tracing sheet will be completed in order to generate a list of contacts for the Orange County Department of Health. Based on contact dates, mandatory or precautionary quarantine will be advised by OUBOCES and confirmed by the OC DOH.
Employees or students with symptoms of illness must be sent to the designated isolation room where the school nurse (Registered Professional Nurse, RN) will assess individuals. Chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies or chronic gastrointestinal issues may present as symptoms of COVID-19; they are neither contagious nor pose a public health threat. Proper PPE will be required any time a nurse may be in contact with a potential COVID-19 patient. Students suspected of having COVID-19, awaiting transport home by a parent/ guardian, will be isolated in a designated isolation room with a supervising adult present, utilizing appropriate PPE. Multiple students suspected of COVID-19 may be in an isolation room as well as they are separated by at least three feet. If they cannot be isolated in a separate room from others, face covering (e.g., cloth or surgical mask) will be provided to the student, if the ill person can tolerate wearing it and does not have difficulty breathing, to prevent the possible transmission of the virus to others while waiting for transportation home. Contact Tracing Public Health Officials assume the task of contact tracing, once notified.
c. COVID-19 Testing:
Working collaboratively with the Orange County Health Department, we have been provided with testing locations throughout the County. Staff and students will be provided with this information upon request.
d. Returning to School and Work Following Illness:
Orange-Ulster BOCES will take the following actions related to COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. Schools must follow guidance from New York State Education, state and local health departments and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or testing positive for COVID-19. A health care provider’s note will be required to return to school if any member of the school (student, staff, or faculty) is not attending due to potential symptom(s) of COVID-19 or a confirmed positive/ diagnosis of COVID-19.
- For a COVID-Related Symptom: If a student/staff/faculty member displays a COVID-19- related symptom, they must obtain a healthcare provider note to return to school. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are NOT limited to: fever or chills (100 degrees F or greater), persistent cough, shortness of breath of difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, unexplained rash, pinkeye.
e. Pertinent Exposure Returning to School:
Pursuant to recent Orange County Department of Health Guidance, OUBOCES staff may request clearance to return to work from the school nurse. To request clearance please contact the school nurse. You will then be sent the “Return to School/Work Following District Ordered Quarantine Questionnaire” to be completed. This is only for students/faculty/staff quarantined due to an exposure at OUBOCES. A note from a medical provider is required when returning to school/work after illness or an outside COVID exposure.
Please note, this documentation from your medical provider must indicate that you are clear to return to school/work and are not suffering from any symptoms of COVID-19. The following events would allow clearance from your school nurse prior to your return to school/work:
- You have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19 at OUBOCES ONLY The following events would require a note from your medical provider prior to your return to school/work for those who are unvaccinated:
- You have tested positive for COVID-19
- You have been exposed outside of OUBOCES to a COVID-19 positive individual (this requires a mandatory 10 day precautionary quarantine under the direction of a medical provider or a Department of Health order)
All staff returning to work from a quarantine due to any COVID-19 exposure or positive COVID-19 test must also provide a quarantine release notice from their local Department of Health. Orange County, NY residents can obtain a Department of Health Clearance. Staff residing outside of Orange County, NY please contact your local Department of Health.
f. Following COVID-19 Diagnosis and Subsequent Isolation Period:
If a student/staff/ faculty member tests positive for the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19, they must have a health care provider note AND the following conditions must be met: Symptom resolution, at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms for symptomatic individuals or 10 days from the collection date (test date) of the positive COVID-19 test for asymptomatic individuals; AND at least 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medication. A negative COVID-19 test will not be required, unless specifically requested by the Department of Health, but may be provided in addition to the health care provider’s note.
Healthcare provider notes must include AT MINIMUM the following information:
- The individual is cleared to return to school/work.
- The individual has an alternate diagnosis unrelated to COVID (for scenario number 1 above) OR the individual has no subsequent illness after completing their quarantine period (for scenario 2 above) OR the individual has successfully completed their isolation period and meets the current CDC clearance guidance (for scenario 3 above).
- The alternate diagnosis does not have to be listed in the note, but may need to be discussed confidentially with the school nurse and/ or the local health department. The health care provider clearance note will assist with mitigating the potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 in a congregate school environment, as we work collectively to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and residents. School nurses CAN use their clinical judgment when deciding to send a child or staff/faculty member home from school or work due to suspected potential COVID-19-related illness, and or based on exposure potential. Please note that individuals exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will need to quarantine for 10 days from their last date of exposure, however after day 10 is reached, individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and if any develop, they should immediately self isolate and contact their local health department or their healthcare provider to report this change. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may be released from isolation as soon as 10 days depending on symptom resolution. This is due to the incubation period of the virus, how long it may take someone to become ill after being exposed to the virus.
Consistent with recent CDC guidance, quarantine for unvaccinated individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end after ten days without a testing requirement if no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. Individuals must continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14; Individuals must be counseled to continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, through Day 14. Individuals must be advised that if any symptoms develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.
g. Vaccinated Individuals or Previous COVID-19 Diagnosis
Consistent with recent CDC guidance, asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine after full vaccination, if the following criteria are met:
- Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine); AND
- Have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure. Individuals who do not meet both of the above criteria and who have been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are required to quarantine for ten days. Consistent with previous CDC guidance, there is no testing requirement to end the quarantine if no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. However, a test should be sought immediately if any symptoms develop during the fourteen days after exposure. Consistent with CDC guidance from February 13, 2021, asymptomatic individuals who have previously been diagnosed with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 and have since recovered, are not required to retest and quarantine within 3 months after the date of symptom onset from the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection or date of first positive diagnostic test if asymptomatic during illness. While COVID-19 vaccines have demonstrated high efficacy at preventing severe and symptomatic COVID-19, there is currently limited information on how much the vaccines might reduce transmission, how long protection lasts, and the efficacy of vaccines against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Additionally, some individuals who were previously infected with COVID-19 have been reinfected at a later time. Therefore, regardless of quarantine status, all individuals exposed to COVID-19 must:
- Continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14;
- Continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, through Day 14 (even if fully vaccinated);
- Fully vaccinated is defined as being 2 or more weeks after the final dose (e.g., first for Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson, second for Pfizer and Moderna) of the vaccine approved by the FDA or authorized by the FDA for emergency use. » Vaccines that are not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use or approved by the FDA do not satisfy this definition.
Recently recovered is defined as:
- recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 by meeting the criteria for discontinuation of isolation,
- within the 3-month period between date of arrival in New York and either the initial onset of symptoms related to the laboratory confirmed COVID-19 infection or, if asymptomatic during the illness, the date of the laboratory confirmed test, and
- asymptomatic after travel or new exposure. (CDC 07/27/21) Although fully vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine after contact with COVID-19 (unless required per the above criteria), the CDC now recommends that fully vaccinated individuals should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they do not have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until they receive negative test results.
10. Cleaning and Disinfection
In general, cleaning once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove potential viruses that may be on surfaces. Disinfecting removes any remaining germs on surfaces, which further reduces any risk of spreading infection.
- Orange-Ulster BOCES has a plan for cleaning, disinfection, and notifying Public Health in the event of a positive case. In the case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19, CDC guidelines will be followed regarding cleaning and disinfecting the building or facility, in which someone has been identified as sick.
- OUBOCES will clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and copier machines.
- Vacuum the space if needed. Use a vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, if available.
- Disabilities or Other Health Care Needs
- Food Service and School Meals
- Recess and Physical Education
- School Workers
- Vaccination Verification
1. Disabilities or Other Health Care Needs
Provide accommodations, modifications, and assistance for students, teachers, and staff with disabilities and other health care needs when implementing COVID-19 safety protocols:
- Work with families to better understand the individual needs of students with disabilities.
- Remain accessible for students with disabilities:
- Orange-Ulster BOCES will limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations, particularly in areas where there is moderate-to-high COVID-19 community transmission.
- Orange-Ulster BOCES will continue to emphasize the importance of staying home when sick. Anyone, including visitors, who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as flu or COVID-19, should stay home and seek testing and care.
- All Orange-Ulster BOCES Visitors must complete a COVID-19 Screening Form or complete a Raptor screening before entering any building.
3. Food Service and School Meals
- All meals will be delivered and eaten in classrooms or alternative settings to encourage cohorting.
- Physical distance will be maximized as much as possible while eating (especially indoors). The use of additional spaces outside of the cafeteria for mealtime seating such as the classroom will help facilitate distancing.
- Staff will clean frequently touched surfaces. Surfaces that come in contact with food should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized before and after meals.
- Students/staff will be encouraged to promote hand washing before, after, and during shifts, before and after eating, after using the toilet, and after handling garbage, dirty dishes, or removing glove
4. Recess and Physical Education
In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors (e.g., participating in outdoor play, recess, and physical education activities). However, particularly in areas of substantial to high transmission levels, people who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated. When physical education activities or recess are held indoors, students/staff will wear masks and maximize physical distancing when possible.
5. Vaccination Verification
Existing laws and regulations require certain vaccinations for children attending school. K-12 administrators regularly maintain documentation of people’s immunization records. Since recommended prevention strategies vary by COVID-19 vaccination status, K-12 administrators who maintain documentation of students’ and workers’ COVID-19 vaccination status can use this information, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, including those related to privacy, to inform masking and physical distancing practices, testing, contact tracing efforts, and quarantine and isolation practices.
If necessary, Orange-Ulster BOCES can plan to request voluntary submission of documentation of COVID-19 vaccination status should use the same standard protocols that are used to collect and secure other immunization or health status information from students. The protocol to collect, secure, use, and further disclose this information should comply with relevant statutory and regulatory requirements, including Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) statutory and regulatory requirements. Policies or practices related to providing or receiving proof of COVID-19 vaccination should comply with all relevant state, tribal, local, or territorial laws and regulations.
As part of their workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy, Orange-Ulster BOCES should recognize that a worker who cannot get vaccinated due to a disability (covered by the ADA), has a disability that affects their ability to have a full immune response to vaccination, or has a sincerely held religious belief or practice (covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation that does not pose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. Additionally, school employers should advise workers with weakened immune systems about the importance of talking to their healthcare professional about the need for continued personal protective measures after vaccination. Currently, CDC recommends continued masking and physical distancing for people with weakened immune systems. For more information on what you should know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and other Equal Employment Opportunity Laws visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.