South Orangetown Central School District

Contact Tracing Protocols

1. COVID-19 cases are reported 24/7, including evenings, weekends and holidays.
As soon as a reporting phone call or email is received, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Karen Tesik, Ed.D. and Director of Staff Relations Joseph Lloyd, Ph.D. mobilize the District’s contact tracing team, which is composed of our school nurses and school social workers.

2. The length and extent of case investigation varies with each case.
The first step is to reach out to building administrators, teachers and coaches to determine where the individual was at every point during their school day on the determined exposure dates. Did they ride the bus? Are they an elementary school student or a secondary school student who has classes throughout the building? Where and with whom did the individual eat lunch? Did the individual participate in club meetings and/or sports?

3. Once the team has established where the individual had been during the exposure dates, the quarantine guidelines established by the CDC and NYDOH are applied and contact tracing begins.
The District alerts the Rockland County Department of Health when a case is reported. According to NYSED and CDC quarantine guidance, a close contact is defined as a person who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

  • However, “in the K-12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.” This exemption does not apply to teachers, staff or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.
  • People who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after close contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms.

4. As contact tracing gets underway, the team is able to assess impact.
At this point, it is determined how long contact tracing notification calls will take based on the number of identified contacts, what time contact tracing calls begin, the extent of the staffing impact and whether sufficient coverage is available for staff required to quarantine. School leaders rely on this information to decide whether the school is able to safely remain open for in-person learning or must shift temporarily to fully-remote operation.

Contact tracing is conducted as cases are reported. Those identified as contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case may be called by the District’s contact tracing team between the hours of 8AM-8PM, seven days a week.

5. A single, cumulative COVID-19 notification e-blast will be sent to District families and staff at 4PM each weekday when schools are in session.
If no reports are received, no notification will be sent that day. Reports received after 4PM, as well as those received on holidays and weekends, will be included in the next weekday’s email notification. Reported cases will continue to be updated in the New York State COVID-19 School Report Card Dashboard, which is linked to the District’s COVID-19 Reporting webpage.

English and Spanish robocalls are made to the families and staff of the impacted school only if the school must temporarily transition temporarily to fully-remote learning. Families and staff are typically notified within three hours when a report is received between 6AM-6PM. Robocalls are not sent between 9PM-5AM.