The Changes Continue...

 As we've all grown accustomed to throughout the entire COVID experience, things coming from various agencies change rapidly and frequently. This week, the New York State Department of Health has released a new document specifically for schools and school families to assist us all in knowing when a student/staff member should come to school and when they should stay home. The document is extremely detailed and has many easy to read graphics which clearly outline when students and staff should not be attending schools. A complete copy of this document can be found here:

NYSDOH - PreK to Grade 12 COVID-19 Toolkit  

We have already connected with the Oneida County Department of Health for clarification on some of the topics contained within this document, however, it is important to note that the new guidance from the State requires students and staff who are symptomatic to remain out of school facilities for longer periods of time than what we have been requiring. The most noteworthy change from how schools have been operating is that in some cases, a negative COVID test does not release a student/staff member from quarantine. I urge you to review the entire document and it would be beneficial to save the webpage so. you can review anytime that you have a question about sending a child to school or attending work for yourself. Some important highlights of the document that are different than the way schools have been operating include:

  • Student and staff are expected to be evaluated by a Health Care Provider (HCP) within 48 hours of presenting COVID symptoms.
  • If a student or staff member is NOT evaluated within 48 hours, they must quarantine and remain out of school/work for 10 days.
  • Any student or staff member that is NOT evaluated within 48 hours is assumed to be a positive case for the school district and must be reported to the DOH.
  • Students/staff members must have a signed letter from a HCP providing an alternate diagnoses to be able to return to school earlier than the 10 day quarantine.
  • Anyone traveling to any location on the NYS Travel Advisory List and/or has been identified as being in contact with a positive COVID case, MUST quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether or not the individual has tested negative.
  • School staff have been identified officially by the NYSDOH as being not essential workers.
Again, I would urge all parents and staff to review this document. The information within the document is certainly information that schools have been asking for throughout the re-opening process. The issues that will arise is that in reality, these new restrictions could lead to schools having many absences both from students and staff. Given that these expectations are so new, I would expect that some of the information held within the new toolkit will be adjusted once the NYSDOH realizes the way things will actually play out in the local Department of Health organizations, however, until adjustments are made, this is the document we must follow. As always, please stay tuned for any adjustments. With the increase of positive cases throughout the State, it is anticipated that there will be more information changing in the coming weeks.

COVID School Report Card

As a reminder, the Governor's office and the Department of Health released the New York State School COVID Report Card. The information found on the website is a collaboration of data that is received by the State from the school district and the Oneida County Department of Health. This link will take you to the website with the information for the Rome City School District:;bedsCodeId=411800

Return to In-Person Update

Thank you to everyone who has been able to complete our most recent survey. We understand that some folks do not feel that they have enough information to complete the survey, which is understandable. As has been experienced throughout, there are always many more questions than answers. Many questions cannot be answered until things are actually happening. We do plan to make formal announcements this week on the time tables for return to in-person learning, as well as, schedules for additional virtual Q&A sessions for families and staff as we prepare for this next phase. 

Girl Scouts

The Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways are looking for new members and/or troops. While the experience may be a little different due to virtual requirements, the spirit remains the same. If you are interested in becoming of member of the Girl Scouts and/or creating a troop, please see their flyer at: Girl Scouts Flyer

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