Ulster BOCES statement: Ulster County BOCES will adhere to CDC and NYS and UC DOH recommendations for isolation of visitors, students, and employees who do not pass screening guidelines when arriving at the building(s). Each site will have a separate designated isolation room for students who do not pass screening protocols upon entering buildings. All adults who do not pass the required screening protocols will be denied entry, except that staff who have a documented chronic condition that may mimic COVID-19 symptoms, will be sent to the school nurse for further evaluation.
Goal - mitigate the potential for further spread of COVID-19, if positive.
Students and staff with non COVID symptoms of illness or injury must be sent to the health office. A school nurse (RN) shall assess such individuals to determine if the presenting conditions are as a result of a chronic condition such as asthma or allergies or other such chronic condition that may present the same symptoms as COVID-19. The school nurse may require such confirmation from a Personal Care Physician before allowing the individual to return to school / class. The school nurse may acquire the assistance of the Ulster County Department of Health's response team before making any such determination. To that end, it would be advised that staff and students with such chronic conditions provide medical clearance to the school nurse before such conditions arise to avoid any school disruption. Proper PPE will be required anytime a nurse may be in contact with a potential COVID-19 patient. All individuals presenting any COVID-19 symptom shall be considered to be potentially COVID-19 positive.
- Students suspected of having COVID-19 or showing symptoms of COVID-19 while awaiting transport home by the parent/guardian will be isolated in a room or area separate from others, with a supervising adult present utilizing appropriate PPE.
- “Identified” students (students failing entry health screenings) will be isolated in a room just inside the school building. Social distancing will be maintained, proper PPE will be available and utilized and supervision will be maintained by an adult.
- If student refuses to isolate - medical hold in place called until staff can get student to comply and isolate
- Students will be able to attend Ulster BOCES virtually while isolated, quarantine, or absence from school
- All students who have been in close contact (<= 6 feet) for more than 10 minutes with the identified student (ie: on the same bus) will be isolated.
- Bus will be directed to staging/bus isolation area and wait for district instruction
- Multiple students suspected of COVID-19 may also be in this isolation room if they can be separated by at least 6 feet. If they cannot be isolated in a separate room from others, face-masks (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.
- Students will be escorted from the isolation area to the parent/guardian. The parent or guardian will be instructed to call their health care provider, or if they do not have a health care provider, to follow up with a local clinic or urgent care center
- Any contaminated areas will be closed until proper deep cleaning is completed or sufficient time has past according to the CDC and DOH guidelines
- Cleaning and disinfecting of all areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, such as offices, classrooms, bathrooms, lockers, and common area shall be done according to CDC and NYS DOH guidelines.
Communication with home district:
- Principal or UB senior administrator will communicate with the student’s home district immediately after identification
- School community communication will be clear and frequent
- Draft communication to parents in advance
- The school nurse and /or school administrator shall determine student contacts contact prior to transport to UB
- Maintain isolation until released to home
Student that refuse to isolate:
- Medical hold in place until student can comply or is picked up
- Indoor isolation areas will be available at each building or campus
- Disciplinary action, if any, TBD
Closure Considerations (When a person has been identified (confirmed) or suspected to be COVID-19 positive)
- Having school administrators collaborate and coordinate with local health officials to make school closure and large event cancellation decisions.
- Establish a plan to close schools again for physical attendance of students, if necessary, based on public health guidance and in coordination with the local DOH.
- In advance, develop a plan for continuity of education, medical and social services, and meal programs and establish alternate mechanisms for these to continue.
- Implement as needed short-term closure procedures regardless of community spread if an infected person has been in a school building. If this happens, CDC recommends the following procedures:
- Closing off areas used by ill person(s) and locking off area(s), signage can also be used to ensure no one enters the area. If possible, wait 24 hours before you clean and disinfect. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. Do not use the area(s) until cleaning and disinfection has taken place.
- Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
- Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill person(s), focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
- Communicating as soon as possible with staff, parents, and students.
- Using DOH guidance/procedures for when someone tests positive.
- In consultation with the local DOH, a school official may consider whether school closure is warranted and period of time (prior to re-opening) based on the risk level within the specific community as determined by the local DOH.
- In accordance with guidance for quarantine at home after close contact, the classroom or office where the COVID-19-positive individual was based will typically need to close as students or staff quarantine.
- Additional close contacts at school outside of a classroom should also quarantine at home.
- Closing of schools could be a regional decision.
- Thresholds will be determined on a case-by-case basis dependent on the numbers (school closures may be a response).
- Buildings may consider closing if required cleaning products become unavailable