Wednesday, Dec., 2, 2020

Wednesday, Dec., 2, 2020

Dear Families,

I hope this letter finds you well. With the possibility of the State making any county a “yellow zone,” I want to share information with you. Although our school community has done a remarkable job in maintaining a healthy environment with presumably no school-based transmissions and a very low infection rate overall, our greater geographic region is seeing an increase in infection rates. To be clear, Minerva Central School has not had any positive cases to date, and we are not in a “yellow-zone”. However, due to local circumstances, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.68 requiring precautionary action in communities located in a “yellow zone,” including mandatory testing of students and school personnel in compliance with Department of Health guidance. 

DOH guidance requires that schools open to in-person instruction in yellow zones test 20% of in-person students, teachers, and staff at least once a week, for as long as the school remains in a designated yellow zone. It continues to be our goal to be open to in-person instruction. Therefore, we must comply with this order from the state.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. We will not test your child without your consent and prior knowledge.
  2. The test itself is non-invasive, simple, and quick. Although a nasal swab is used for this test, it is shallow and done very quickly. It has been described as not much different than someone picking their nose. As indelicate as that description may be, it seems like a relatable example in the school population. It is not the PCR test that has been uncomfortable for many to endure. A certified or licensed medical professional (CNA, LPN, or RN) will administer the test and provide the results. 
  3. We will test 20% of our in-person population per week. We will notify you at least the day before your child is tested.
  4. If you have not consented to a test, your child will not be tested. Those refusing to consent to a test will NOT be excluded from school or required to be remote learners. Although we hope that most, if not all, students will participate, this will not be required.
  5. The District will randomly sample from throughout the list of those who have consented to testing. We will rotate through the building and be as efficient as possible in the testing of students.
  6. Students and staff chosen for testing will be retrieved and be brought to a large space in the building. They will be given the test and immediately returned to their class. We will make this a very quick process to minimize time out of class. Due to the daily screening, everyone in person is presumed to be negative. Taking the test doesn’t change that, and participants continue to be presumed negative. If a positive test result occurs, the student will be asked to report to the nurse’s office. The procedure for isolating and contacting the family for physician follow-up will be followed.
  7. We are hoping for your consent! Please fill out and return the attached consent form. Similar to the daily screening form, you will have to consent for each of your children.

Thank you in advance for all of your continued support during these times and for considering participation. We are hopeful that everyone joins in this effort but respect your decisions regarding your child’s health.

Best wishes for continued good health, and please continue to take the steps you have taken so well in keeping everyone healthy.

Stay healthy, monitor your symptoms, practice good hand and respiratory hygiene, stay distanced, and stay masked.

Kyle H. McFarland.  

Superintendent of Schools