COVID-19 Testing at School FAQ

Updated January 6, 2021

As you know, there is a possibility we may need to start surveillance testing for COVID-19 at school in order to remain open for in-person instruction. It is unclear when testing would need to begin, but we are following local developments closely and working with the Greene County Department of Health and Questar III BOCES to secure test kits and train our school nurses so we can be prepared.

Please take a moment to review these frequently asked questions and watch a short demonstration video. After you read the FAQ, please consider giving parent consent for your child(ren) to receive a free COVID-19 test at school using this consent form by Friday, January 8, 2021 (families of students who are learning 100% virtually do not need to fill out this form). If you have additional questions, please contact your child's principal or school nurse.

What test is being used and how will it work?

The state is providing school districts with the COVID-19 rapid test (Binax antigen test) at no cost. The testing process is outlined below followed by a demonstration video.

The testing process will involve inserting a small swab, similar to a Q-Tip, into the lowermost portion of the nostril. There is a quick nasal swab test of both nostrils. This is NOT the deep swab test that is performed at medical facilities. The swab will be inserted just far enough to swipe the inside of each nostril.

Swabs will then be placed into a testing card, along with a reagent. Results will be available within 15 minutes.

Who is administering the tests?

The tests will be administered by school nurses to students for whom we have received parental consent. If you have not already notified the district as to whether or not you give consent for in-school testing, please complete this consent form as soon as possible (families of students who are participating in the fully remote instructional model do not need to fill out this form).

How do I consent to have my kid(s) tested at school?

Please complete the parent consent form for your child(ren). Families of students who are participating in the fully remote instructional model do not need to fill out the consent form.

Why is the rapid test being used?

The rationale of using the rapid test instead of the PCR test is that these tests will be done on students and staff who are asymptomatic. Rapid tests are non-invasive and detect protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus. PCR tests detect RNA that is specific to the virus and are the “deep sinus” variety. These have a longer turnaround time than the rapid test.

How many people need to be tested each week to keep schools open?

Schools will be required to test 20% of in-person learners and school staff over a two-week period. If we do not meet the testing percentage requirements, it is our understanding that we must switch to full remote instruction.

How will you determine who gets tested?

Twenty percent of in-person students and staff (with consent) will be randomly selected to receive a test at school every two weeks. It is possible that an individual who is randomly selected for one round of testing will be randomly selected again for the next round of testing.

Can I be present when my child is tested?

Parents/guardians may not be present for testing during the school day as we must limit the number of people within our school buildings. However if your child is randomly selected to receive a test at school, you will be notified of the test and the result.

What happens if a student tests positive?

If your child tests positive, you will be notified, asked to quarantine, and will need to follow up with your healthcare provider for a PCR test. This information will be reviewed with you in the event your child tests positive. In addition, we will share the test results with the Greene County Department of Health.

What if I prefer to get my child tested offsite?

You can get your child tested by your healthcare provider or at any testing site. In order for those tests to count toward the 20% threshold, results need to be provided to your school nurse within one (1) week. If it is your intention to test offsite, please notify the school and indicate when your child will be tested.

If I do not consent to testing, will my child be forced to switch to remote instruction?

No, your child can continue to be part of the in-person or hybrid learning model as long as we have enough volunteers for testing. If we do not reach the 20% benchmark, all students may be forced to full remote instruction.

If I don’t consent now, will I have an opportunity to reconsider?

Yes. Depending on the number of parents/guardians who consent, we could have to solicit more volunteers to test in future weeks. If that happens, we will 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.