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Superintendent's Message: Optional Diagnostic Testing

OCT. 20, 2021 — We have been working with the Ontario County Department of Health to make three levels of COVID-19 testing available to students and staff. These testing opportunities include optional diagnostic testing of students/staff, required pool/screening testing of staff, and optional pool/screening testing of non-vaccinated students. 

»MORE: Diagnostic Testing Consent Page

Each of these testing systems requires specific staffing, supplies, and procedures, and we are thankful to Ontario County for working with us to coordinate the delivery all three types of testing. We also appreciate the patience of families and staff as we work with Ontario County to coordinate the many details and logistics before we begin testing.

We are now ready to offer optional diagnostic testing to students and staff who are symptomatic at school or exposed to COVID-19 at school, beginning on Thursday, Oct. 21. The diagnostic testing is performed using a shallow nasal swab that is loaded into a machine on campus. All tests will be administered by a school nurse, or a nurse contracted through Ontario County. Results will be available within 20 minutes.

Diagnostic testing at school does require parent consent. If your child is symptomatic or exposed at school, a school nurse will contact you to pick up your child for follow-up with your health care provider.  However, you will be given the opportunity to consent to on-campus diagnostic testing by completing a registration and consent form available at https://pcs-ar.rschooltoday.com/node/38 and posted on the school website. This online consent will enable the testing process to take place while you are on your way to school to pick up your child. You may also withhold consent until you arrive. 

The school will not test on weekends and diagnostic testing is available to students and staff only. A negative test may be required for a return to school when an individual is symptomatic, but you are not required to have that test performed at school.  Families have the option of coordinating the testing through their own health care provider.  The cost of tests performed at school are covered by a grant secured by Ontario County. A negative test does not mean that a symptomatic individual can stay at school, and follow-up testing from a health care provider may be required prior to a return to school.

Students and staff who are symptomatic will be sent home and referred to their health care provider, regardless of the outcome of the test.  All results, both positive and negative, will be reported to the Ontario County Department of Health.

Students who are exposed to COVID-19 at school but are non-symptomatic will have the opportunity to stay in school and participate in school activities, Monday through Friday only, by testing negative at school for seven consecutive days.  More information on this protocol will be shared and posted on the school website when it is finalized by the Ontario County Department of Health.

Required weekly pool/screening testing of staff will begin during the week of October 25.  More information will be communicated directly to staff.  Optional pool/screening testing will begin in a few weeks once we have coordinated the logistics with Ontario County. We will share detailed information about this additional level of testing with families as soon as it is available.

Thank you for your patience as we work with Ontario County to incorporate these additional strategies for keeping students and staff safe and healthy at school. If you have any questions regarding any of the testing systems, please contact one of our school nurses or our COVID Safety Officer, John Lombardi.

Sincerely, 

Matthew Sickles, Superintendent