1/1 Update from the Superintendent of Schools
Superintendent's Update - January COVID-19 Protocols
Update: January 1 2022
Dear Harrison Families,
We wish a happy and healthy New Year to all of our families. We are prepared to welcome your children back to school as scheduled on Monday, January 3, 2022. Our shared goals remain unchanged: (1) ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, and (2) ensuring students attend school for in-person learning every day. Your continued commitment to these goals makes them possible even amidst a more contagious variant and rising infection rates. The District will continue to monitor the availability of faculty and staff to safely return to school as significant increases of positive COVID-19 cases continue.
Please read this email carefully, including an FAQ update on COVID-19 protocols and what to expect upon your child’s return to school.
Is my child eligible to take a PCR COVID-19 test when school reopens on January 3?
The District provides PCR COVID-19 tests for returning students, faculty, and staff who consented to participate in our COVID-19 testing program. The District’s partnership with Mt. Sinai Hospital does not allow new participants in the testing program for the week of January 3. We encourage you to provide consent for your child’s participation in future COVID-19 testing. For more information about the District’s COVID-19 testing program, click here.
Participation in surveillance testing makes your child eligible for future take-home PCR tests upon return from February and spring breaks. There is no cost for participation.
If my child was exposed to COVID-19 over the break and needs to be quarantined, can he/she participate in the Test to Stay (TTS) program?
Vaccinated, asymptomatic students may return to school even with exposure to a positive case. As per CDC guidance, students must wear a face mask, monitor for symptoms, and seek a COVID-19 test 5-7 days after exposure.
According to New York State guidance, unvaccinated, asymptomatic students exposed to COVID-19 at school or outside of school may remain in school by getting tested every school day for the first seven (7) days of quarantine. Parents must complete the TTS Consent Form for students to participate in the TTS program. The TTS protocols are dictated by Westchester County Department of Health (WCDOH) and may be subject to change as new guidance is issued. The HCSD TTS webpage provides an overview of the WCDOH program requirements and responsibilities for parents and students.
If my child has COVID-19 symptoms, what type of test should I get?
The Westchester County Department of Health now permits the District to accept either a rapid antigen test or a PCR test performed by a healthcare provider to diagnose COVID-19.
If your child has any COVID-19 symptoms, including a fever over 100° Fahrenheit without the use of fever suppressing medication, shaking or chills, cough, congestion or runny nose, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, unusual or significant fatigue, persistent muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and/or new loss of taste or smell, DO NOT send your child to school.
Report your child’s symptoms using the confidential COVID-19 Symptom Reporting Form and provide a copy of your child’s COVID-19 test results to your school nurse.
Quarantine & Isolation Requirements
How important is appropriate mask-wearing in schools to limit quarantine?
Regardless of vaccination status, all students are exempt from quarantine if everyone within a 3-foot range in classrooms is wearing a face mask properly and consistently (on school buses, the standard is 6 feet). Wearing face masks is an effective way to contain the spread of COVID-19 and reduce quarantines for everyone.
Please remind your children about the importance of appropriate mask-wearing while in school. Our collective vigilance will provide the best path to continuous in-person instruction.
If my child tests positive for COVID-19, when will he/she be able to return to school?
Vaccinated and unvaccinated students must isolate for ten (10) days following a positive test result (day zero is either date of symptom onset if symptomatic or the collection date of the first positive test if asymptomatic).
The Westchester County Department of Health has not authorized the CDC recommendation to reduce isolation for students following a positive COVID-19 test from 10 days to 5 days. Therefore, if a student tests positive for COVID-19, he/she must isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.
If my child tests positive for COVID-19, will he/she be exempt from quarantine if he/she has another exposure within the next 90 days? Can a home test be used as proof that my child has tested positive?
If a student receives a positive COVID-19 test result from a healthcare provider, he/she will not be required to quarantine in the event of another exposure for 90 days following the positive test result. Westchester County Department of Health does not permit the District to accept results from home tests to exempt a student from quarantine for 90 days following the positive test result.
Will there be an option for my child to learn virtually after the holiday break?
Students may learn virtually beginning January 3, 2022, (1) if they are isolated following a positive test result and whose symptoms have resolved, or (2) unvaccinated students required to quarantine following exposure to a positive case and not participating in the Test to Stay program.
Will there be a virtual learning option if a family member tests positive?
The District permits children in homes with a positive COVID-19 case to participate in virtual learning. The District recommends if a family member in your home has tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot be isolated from the rest of the family, DO NOT send your child to school.
As I have written previously, the health and welfare of your children and neighbors are inextricably linked. We begin the new year with significant challenges, but our collective vigilance can still provide a year of meaningful learning and memorable experiences for your children. We value your support and cooperation.
Louis N. Wool, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools