GST BOCES Testing and Contact Tracing Plan
The Greater Southern Tier BOCES

GST BOCES Testing and Contact Tracing Plan

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Testing and Contact Tracing Plan

Health Checks

The BOCES will ensure daily temperature screenings of all students and staff, along with a daily screening questionnaire for faculty and staff and periodic use of the questionnaire for students as follows:

  • Students will be temperature screened by their component school districts before they reach a BOCES campus or classroom.
  • Students who go directly to a BOCES campus without a temperature screening will be screened by BOCES staff upon arrival at the main office for the student’s program. Students who may require screening to be completed at school will be treated in a confidential manner and must have the screening completed as quickly as possible to minimize time away from class. While waiting for screening, students will be socially distanced. Other required instructions for those conducting these screenings will include:
    • Ask parents/guardians to take their child’s temperature either before coming to the facility or upon arrival at the facility. Upon their arrival, stand at least 6 feet away from the parent/guardian and child.
    • Ask the parent/guardian to confirm that the child does not have fever, shortness of breath or cough.
    • Make a visual inspection of the child for signs of illness which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness.
    • Stand behind a physical barrier, such as a glass or plastic window or partition that can serve to protect the staff member’s face and mucous membranes from respiratory droplets that may be produced if the child being screened sneezes, coughs, or talks.
    • Perform hand hygiene.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Put on disposable gloves.
    • Check the child’s temperature, reaching around the partition or through the window.
    • Make sure your face stays behind the barrier at all times during the screening.
    • If performing a temperature check on multiple individuals, ensure that you use a clean pair of gloves for each child and clean the thermometer thoroughly between each check.
    • If disposable or non-contact (temporal or infrared) thermometers are used and there was no physical contact with the child, you do not need to change gloves before the next check.
    • If non-contact thermometers are used, clean them with an alcohol wipe (or isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab) between each student. You can reuse the same wipe if it remains wet.
    • If social distancing or barrier/partition controls cannot be implemented during screening, PPE will be used when within 6 feet of a child:
      • Upon arrival, wash your hands and put on a facemask, eye protection (goggles or disposable face shield that fully covers the front and sides of the face), and a single pair of disposable gloves. A gown could be considered if extensive contact with a child is occurring.

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      • Take the child’s temperature.
      • If performing a temperature check on multiple individuals, ensure that you use a clean pair of gloves for each child and clean the thermometer thoroughly between each check.
      • If disposable or non-contact (temporal or infrared) thermometers are used and there was no physical contact with an individual, you do not need to change gloves before the next check.
      • If you use non-contact thermometers, clean them with an alcohol wipe (or isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab) between each client. You can reuse the same wipe if it remains wet.
      • After each screening, remove and discard gloves.
      • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol or wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Students will be screened through questionnaire periodically by their component school districts.
  • Faculty and staff will be temperature screened either: (1) at home and self-reported to BOCES whether such temperature exceeds 100.0° F through a remote electronic application; or (2) upon arrival at work by assigned BOCES staff.
  • Faculty and staff will complete a daily screening questionnaire through an electronic application.
  • Visitors, guests, contractors, and vendors will be subject to a temperature screening and questionnaire.

A screening questionnaire determines whether the individual has:

  • knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19;
  • tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
  • has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F in the past 14 days: and/or
  • has traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days.

The written BOCES protocol on signs of illness in a parents’ child that require staying home from school will be sent to parents/guardians in communications in August and/or September 2020. Parents/ guardians and staff members will be provided resources to educate them regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. Parents/guardians and school staff will be instructed that any student or staff member with a fever of greater than 100°F and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection should not be present in school.

Students and staff are required to notify BOCES when they develop symptoms or if their answers to the questionnaire change during or outside school hours.

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Management of Ill Persons

Students and staff with symptoms of illness must be sent to the health office. Ill students and staff will be assessed by the school nurse (registered professional nurse, RN) or medical director. If a school nurse or medical director is not available, ill students and staff will be sent home for follow up with a healthcare provider. The school nurse or medical director will assess individuals for chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies or chronic gastrointestinal conditions may present the same symptoms as COVID-19 but are neither contagious nor pose a public health threat. If a school nurse is not available, the BOCES will isolate and dismiss any student or staff member who has a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 that are not explained by a chronic health condition for follow up with a health care provider.

Students or staff with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire will be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.

  • School health personnel will wear PPE when assessing ill persons or conducting certain respiratory treatments.
  • BOCES administration will designate 2 rooms, if available, for school health service personnel. One room will be for healthy students to obtain medications and nursing treatments. The second room will be for isolating ill persons.
  • Disposable equipment and supplies will be used in the health office as much as practicable.

The BOCES has developed a protocol for asthma-related acute respiratory treatment care using up-to-date standard of care. [awaiting details of protocols from Guthrie to be inserted here]

If Students or Staff become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School

Whenever a student shows symptoms of any communicable or infectious disease reportable under the public health law that imposes a significant risk of infection of others in the school, he or she shall be excluded from the school and sent home immediately, in a safe and proper conveyance. The director of school health services shall immediately notify a local public health agency of any disease reportable under the public health law. The director of school health services, or other health professionals acting upon direction or referral of such director, may make such evaluations of teachers and any other school employees, school buildings and premises as, in their discretion, they may deem necessary to protect the health of the students and staff.

School staff must immediately report any illness of students or staff to the school nurse or other designated school staff. Such reports should be made in compliance with FERPA, and Education Law 2-d.

If the BOCES has two rooms for school health personnel - one room for healthy students who have injuries or need their medications or nursing treatments, and another room for assessing and caring for ill students and staff, both rooms will have a supervising adult present. If a separate room is not available, at least a 6-foot distance will be kept between ill students and other persons.

BOCES will call for emergency transport (911) following district protocols, for any student showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs: trouble breathing, pain or

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pressure in the chest that does not go away, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, or severe abdominal pain.

The BOCES will direct any student or staff member who has symptoms of COVID-19 to contact their county health department and be tested for COVID-19.

The BOCES’ protocol for actions to be taken if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a BOCES educational program is as follows:

  • The BOCES will immediately notify the state and local health departments about the case if diagnostic test results are positive for COVID-19.
  • The BOCES will direct any student or staff member who was in close contact (in accordance with CDC guidelines) of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 to contact their county health department and be tested for COVID-19. Such individuals will not be permitted to return to school or work until they test negative for COVID-19 or they are cleared to return after testing positive for COVID-19 (see Return to School After Illness, below).
  • In accordance with CDC guidelines, the BOCES will provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19, with such cleaning and disinfection to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces.

Contact Tracing

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. The BOCES will cooperate with state and local health department contact tracing. In case of a positive test, the BOCES will develop plans with the local health department to trace all contacts of the individual, in accordance with the New York State Contact Tracing Program.

Confidentiality will be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations.

The BOCES will alert individuals who have come into close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

School Closures

The BOCES will collaborate with their local health department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

Return to School after Illness

The BOCES will follow CDC guidance for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If a person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 they can return to school:

  • Once there is no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines, and they have felt well for 24 hours,

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  • If they have been diagnosed with another condition and has a healthcare provider written note stating they are clear to return to school.

In accordance with CDC guidance, the BOCES’ protocol for the return to school of students and staff following illness or diagnosis of confirmed case of COVID-19 or following quarantine due to contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is as follows:

  • Return to school will be coordinated with the local health department.
  • A student or staff member will be allowed to return to school with documentation from a health care provider evaluation, negative COVID-19 testing, and symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation.

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