South Orangetown Central School District

Sent via SchoolMessenger on January 6, 2022

Dear South Orangetown Families,

Rockland County school superintendents met with officials from the Rockland County Department of Health (RCDOH) today to review and discuss updated COVID-19 quarantine and isolation protocols, contact tracing requirements and the “Test To Stay” (TTS) mitigation strategy being used in neighboring counties.

South Orangetown students who test positive for COVID-19 on or after January 6, 2022, regardless of vaccination status, will be permitted to return to school after isolating for five days per the revised January 5, 2022 guidance issued by RCDOH. Reducing the isolation period to five days will allow students to return to school more quickly after testing positive for COVID-19.

Quarantine guidelines for students exposed to someone with COVID-19 have also changed. A key change is that RCDOH now requires the following individuals to quarantine for five days following exposure:

  • Individuals who completed their primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than 6 months ago and have not boosted;
  • Individuals who have completed the primary series of J&J vaccine more than 2 months ago and have not boosted; and
  • Individuals who are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated

Please note that the exposure criteria for determining close contacts in non-classroom settings (auditoriums, gymnasiums, cafeterias and buses) remains in effect.

With regard to TTS for exposed individuals required to quarantine, RCDOH has placed several complex requirements on local school districts which make it challenging to implement. As announced during today’s meeting, county health officials are prohibiting at-home testing to be included in a TTS program citing an inability to guarantee accuracy of test results. Other barriers include a county mandate that the multi-day testing series be performed by licensed healthcare professionals in schools before the start of each school day and that TTS would not allow participating students to engage in athletics or extracurricular activities. In light of these mandates, our District is determining the viability of adopting this strategy.

We appreciate the hard work and dedication of District staff and administrators who have gone above and beyond to welcome students back to school in person this week. The COVID-19 surge is impacting our entire community, but we will persevere by continuing to work together. Thank you for your ongoing flexibility and support.


Robert R. Pritchard, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools