FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Who do I notify if a student or employee has symptoms of COVID-19?
For students who develop symptoms, either at home or at school, notify the school nurse. Employees who develop symptoms should contact their immediate supervisor.
2. Can a student or employee be tested at school for COVID-19?
Students or employees who develop symptoms while at school can receive a rapid test administered by the school nurse. Signed consent is required, and testing will not occur without consent. Students or employees who develop symptoms while at home may obtain a home rapid test or PCR test by appointment. See “Ways to Get Tested” for a complete list of testing options.
3. How do we submit a negative test result for a student or employee to return to school/work after having had symptoms of COVID-19?
If the negative test result was provided by a pharmacy, healthcare provider, or laboratory, please send a copy of the result by email or photo attachment to your school nurse (students) or immediate supervisor (employees). If a home test was negative, we will accept a photo of the test, provided that the date and name of the person tested are written on the test itself.
4. Who do I notify if a student or employee has a positive test for COVID-19?
For students who test positive, notify the school nurse. Employees who test positive should contact their immediate supervisor. The Chautauqua County Health Department also requests that any positive home tests be reported using the online form at https://chqgov.com/form/report-a-positive-covid-19-home-. Please also be sure to notify any close contacts who may have been exposed outside of school.
5. What is the isolation period for a student or employee who tested positive for COVID-19? Do they need to stay home for 10 days or 5 days?
Those who have remained at home for at least five days after a positive test or last known exposure may return to school as long as all other return to school requirements are met. As each person’s circumstances are unique, it is important to seek specific guidance from your school nurse or supervisor. The return to school date depends on the date of exposure, COVID test, or symptom onset. Nurses may consult with Dr. Jill Muntz, Coordinator of School Health Services, for guidance.
6. How is exposure defined? How do you tell when an individual is exposed to COVID-19 and should wear a mask and undergo testing?
Exposed students are those who meet the definition of a “close contact” to an individual with COVID-19. A close contact is a person, regardless of vaccination status, who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Exposed or potentially exposed individuals may continue to attend school and should wear a mask and test as recommended.
7. How do we show that a student or employee is eligible to return to school after exposure?
All students or employees, regardless of vaccination status, may remain in school following exposure as long as they remain symptom-free. It is strongly recommended that recently exposed individuals wear a well-fitting mask through day 10 after exposure and complete recommended testing. Exposed individuals also may continue to ride the school bus, participate in school-based extracurricular activities and attend school-administered childcare programs.
8. Is a negative test result required to return to school after exposure to a person with COVID-19?
It is recommended that students and employees be tested immediately after exposure, and again after five days, whether vaccinated or not. A negative test result is not required to return to work or school after exposure, as long as the student or employee has not developed symptoms.
9. If masks are now optional in the school setting, why are masks sometimes required for students and staff?
In most circumstances, students and staff can choose whether or not to wear a mask. However, there are some situations in which masks are still required by the New York State Department of Health. Masks are required upon return from isolation during days 6-10 after COVID- 19 infection. Masks are also required upon return to school during days 6-10 after developing symptoms of COVID-19, unless the person has been able to provide a negative test result. If an individual is unwilling or unable to wear a mask in these instances, they must not attend school.