Following is a step-by-step overview to help families and staff better understand the District’s process for investigating reported COVID-19 cases, contact tracing and quarantining:
1. COVID-19 cases are reported 24/7, including evenings, weekends and holidays.
As calls come in, Executive Director of 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. (Find information about how to report COVID-19 cases here.)
2. The length and extent of case investigation varies with each case.
Fully-remote students and teleworking staff are required to report if they test positive, but no contact tracing may be required for those cases. For in-person hybrid learning students and in-person staff, as well as athletes and coaches, extensive contact tracing may be required. 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 they participate in sports practice or competition?
3. Once the team has established where the individual had been during the exposure dates, the next step is to apply the quarantine guidelines established by the Rockland County Department of Health and begin contact tracing.
The District alerts the RC DOH when a case is reported and must follow their policy regarding who should be quarantined. The updated guidelines released in February have helped to reduce the number of students and staff quarantined to those within six feet of the individual who tested positive for 10 minutes or more as long as the entire class was fully masked and the positive individual didn’t not move around the classroom. Additional requirements apply; read the full guidance here.
4. As contact tracing gets underway, the team is able to assess impact.
At that point, it is determined how long contact tracing notification calls will take based on the number of identified contacts and what time contact tracing calls begin, the extent of the staffing impact and whether sufficient and in-person coverage is available for those required to quarantine. School leaders rely on this information to decide whether the school is able to safely remain open for hybrid in-person learning or must shift temporarily to fully-remote operation.
5. Once the impact has been assessed, the District communicates with families and staff.
A district-wide e-blast is sent and an update is posted to the COVID-19 Reporting webpage. UPDATED (3/11/21): English and Spanish robocalls are made to the families and staff of the impacted school only if the school must transition temporarily to fully-remote learning.