School-Based Testing Information - Frequently Asked Questions
Please note: No WSWHE BOCES instructional site has been designated as a "yellow zone." If any WSWHE BOCES instructional site is designated as a "yellow zone", we will communicate a testing plan to families.
WSWHE BOCES is committed to remaining open for in-person instruction with the health and safety of our students and staff as our top priority. When a region moves to the “Yellow Zone” under Governor Cuomo’s Micro-Cluster Initiative, schools are required to test 20% of in-person students and staff for COVID-19 each week to remain open for in-person instruction. If the results of the testing reveal that the positivity rate among the 20% of those tested is lower than the yellow zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, testing at that school will no longer be required to continue.
What test is being used and who is administering the tests?
WSWHE BOCES will use Binax Cards, a non invasive, COVID-19 rapid test. At our Sanford Street Teaching Teaching and Learning Center in Glens Falls, WSWHE BOCES under the direction of licensed nurses (in cooperation with Warren County Public Health) will administer the tests to students for whom we have received consent. At all of our other instructional sites, the tests will be administered by nurses from Adirondack Health & Wellness. The testing process will involve inserting a small swab, similar to a Q-Tip, into the front of the nose. This is a quick nasal swab test of both nostrils. Results are available in 15 minutes. We want students to be as comfortable as possible during testing and will not “force” students to get tested if they are unwilling or do not have parental consent.
What will happen if a cluster is re-designated as a “Orange Zone? How will the tests be administered in that case?
We will be working with our county partners to determine that the testing methodology, percent needed and how the tests will be administered.
How do I consent to have my kids tested at school?
Please complete the Consent for Student COVID-19 Testing Form for each of your children.
How many people need to be tested each week to keep schools open?
Schools are required to test 20% of in-person learners and school staff. If we do not meet the testing requirements, it is our understanding that we must switch to fully online instruction.
What is the process for selecting students for testing?
We will create a confidential database for each of our instructional sites that includes the names of all eligible students and staff members. Taking into account which students at which locations have consented to testing, we will randomly select the students to be tested.
Can I be present when my child is tested?
Parents and guardians may not be present for testing during the school day as we must limit the number of people within our school buildings.
If I do not consent to testing, will my child be forced to switch to fully online instruction?
No, your child can continue to be part of the in-person learning model as long as we have enough volunteers. Meeting that benchmark will get tricky over time if the majority of people do not agree to testing.
If I don’t consent now, will I have an opportunity to reconsider?
Yes. Depending on the number of parents who consent, we could have to solicit more volunteers to test in future weeks. If that happens, we would send another email asking new families to consent.
Can parents or family members get tested too?
No, schools only get enough tests to accommodate 20% of our school population, so unfortunately, we cannot test family members or individuals who do not work in a building in a cluster zone designation.
What happens if a student tests positive?
If your child tests positive, either our WSWHE BOCES nursing staff or someone from Adirondack Health & Wellness will notify you and you will need to pick-up your child. In addition, we will report the information to the New York State Department of Health and share that information with our local county public health services to contact you to discuss next steps.
Why is the rapid test being used?
The rationale of using the rapid test versus the PCR test is that these tests will be done on students and staff who are asymptomatic. If a person tests positive with the rapid test, they will be separated and need to get an additional PCR test for confirmation.
Is it possible that schools will still have to switch to fully online instruction?
Yes. If cases continue to rise, we may need to switch to fully online instruction. In addition, if a significant number of staff are placed in mandatory quarantine, this could require WSWHE BOCES to temporarily shift a class or school building to online instruction.