As noted in the New York State Department of Education’s guidance to schools for reopening, Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York’s Schools, “Contact tracing is a public health function performed by local public health departments to trace all persons who had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This allows public health officials to put in place isolation or other measures to limit the spread of the virus. Schools must cooperate with state and local health department contact tracing. Schools can assist public health departments in knowing who may have had contact at school with a confirmed case by:
- keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members;
- ensuring student schedules are up to date;
- keeping a log of any visitors which includes date, time and where in the school they visited; and
- assist local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual at school in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program.
Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local department of health.”
In the event an individual is identified as a confirmed case within a school, the Rensselaer County Health Department will determine a starting date for which the school will need to provide contact tracing information. This date will be 48 hours prior to the individual becoming symptomatic. To this end, the school district will need to keep records that will be made available to the Rensselaer County Health Department for those who may have been in close contact with the confirmed case. Any close contacts will be identified by the Rensselaer County Health Department. The district COVID-19 School Resource Person will be asked to assist the county with quarantine surveillance monitoring of contacts in connection with a confirmed case in a school.
If a student or staff member is identified by the Rensselaer County Health Department as a contact, they will be contacted by a county Case Manager and be instructed to quarantine for 14 days. Any contact identified by the Rensselaer County Health Department may not return to school until such a time as they are released from mandatory quarantine by the Case Manager.