Important COVID-19 Updates; 01-03-22

Dear RCS Families, 

We are writing with important updates regarding COVID-19, specifically:

  • Take-home rapid tests will be available for families this week

  • Negative Rapid (Antigen) Tests Can Be Used to Return to School/Work

  • Reporting Positive COVID-19 Test Results 

  • No new quarantine guidelines at this time Updates from the Department of Health: Reduction in Quarantine/Isolation Duration; 01/10/2022

  • Vaccination is an important tool to fight serious illness

Take-home rapid tests will be available for families this week:  Beginning Wednesday, January 5, 2022, families will be able to pick up the state-provided take-home rapid tests at any of our main offices. These tests are for RCS students; each family may take one box (which includes two tests) per student. These will be available until supplies run out. 

These tests are being made available through a New York State initiative. They are intended to assist families to know as soon as possible if their child is COVID-19 positive. The test would ordinarily be administered if a child were displaying COVID-like symptoms or was exposed to a positive case. Any positive results should be reported to your child’s school nurse and to the Department of Health by using the Reporting Positive COVID-19 Test Results links that we have shared in a section below. 

As a reminder, students who are ill with COVID-like symptoms and would like to return to school in fewer than 10 days must be tested by a healthcare professional or by the school in order to return to school. These take-home rapid tests and over-the-counter (OTC) tests are not currently accepted for proof of a negative result when a student is ill.

Negative Rapid (Antigen) Tests Can Be Used to Return to School/Work: Albany County Department of Health has recently updated its guidelines to allow individuals who experience COVID-like symptoms to return to school/work following either a negative rapid (antigen), NAAT or PCR test. At home rapid tests or over-the-counter tests (OTC) cannot be used to return after illness at this time. The rapid or PCR test to return to school must be administered at our school, a pharmacy, or in a healthcare setting such as urgent care or your family physician’s office. Students and staff members can return following a negative test result provided that their symptoms have improved. Those who are still sick and are displaying COVID-like symptoms should remain home. 

In order to return to school/work, symptomatic individuals must:

  • Have a negative PCR, NAAT, or antigen test,

  • Be well enough to participate in school, symptoms are gone or are improving (including no runny nose or persistent coughing)

  • Be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication.

Families need to communicate directly with their child’s school nurse prior to their child’s return to ensure their student meets all criteria required by New York State.

Reporting Positive COVID-19 Test Results:  Please note that any positive test results from an at-home test must be reported to the local health department and to your school nurse. To report a positive test result to:

No new quarantine guidelines at this time:  On Monday, Dec. 26, the CDC announced it was recommending shorter isolation, quarantine times and test to stay; however, state and local health departments have not yet updated their guidance for students attending K-12 schools. Until further notice, RCS will continue to use the Albany County Department of Health protocols for excluding students from school for a period of 10 days when COVID positive or in quarantine as a close contact.

Updated information regarding quarantine and isolation for students will be shared with families as soon as it has been received and reviewed by the district.

Updates from the Department of Health: Reduction in Quarantine/Isolation Duration; 01/10/2022

Vaccination is an important tool to fight serious illness: Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective measures we have to keep our schools safe places for learning. Vaccination information and locations can be found here.

Thank you, 

Brian Bailey, Ed.D.
Superintendent