Q: Why is F-M part of a yellow zone?
A: On November 23, Governor Andrew Cuomo identified zip codes 13104 and 13066 as part of Onondaga County’s yellow zone, which means the Fayetteville-Manlius School District community has been identified as having a microcluster of COVID-19 cases. All six of the district’s school district buildings—Enders Road Elementary School, Fayetteville Elementary School, Mott Road Elementary School, Eagle Hill Middle School, Wellwood Middle School and Fayetteville-Manlius High School —fall within this zone.
Q: What happens now that F-M is included in a yellow zone?
A: While schools can remain open if they are placed into a “yellow zone”, it is important to note that there is a mandatory weekly testing requirement to keep schools open. The current guidance requires 20% of the in-person population (students and staff) to be randomly tested on a bi-weekly basis. If the testing parameters and/or capacity cannot be met by the testing authority, school building(s) will be required to close for in-person classes and will transition to remote instruction.
Q: Can teachers/administrators/staff report to work if their school building is in a yellow zone?
A: Yes, there is no prohibition on staff reporting, other than abiding by the district’s current COVID-19 safety and health guidance (wearing masks, participating in daily health screenings, maintaining and encouraging a social distance where possible, etc.).
Q: What happens if the district is placed in an orange or red zone?
A: If the district is placed into an orange or red zone, schools will be required to pivot to fully-remote instruction for two weeks. However, if a district would like to reopen in-person instruction, it must close in-person instruction for at least four calendar days and meet the testing requirements laid out by the state. It can then reopen as early as the fifth calendar day. In order to reopen, all students, faculty and staff must have a negative COVID-19 test result to attend school in-person. In addition, 25% of the in-person population must be randomly tested on a weekly basis until the zone designation is lifted.
Q: How can parents and guardians register their F-M student for testing?
A: An email containing a hyperlink to Onondaga Health Department’s COVID-19 testing registration webpage will be sent to all F-M parents and guardians during the Thanksgiving Recess. By using the OCHD hyperlink, parents and guardians can pre-register their child and schedule a test. By registering your child for a test, you are providing consent for the test to be administered. If at any time a parent or guardian wishes to rescind their consent, they may do so by contacting their child’s building principal before the time of the scheduled test.
Q: How many tests will be available?
A: Testing will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis until the requisite number of tests have been spoken for in a particular school building.
Q: Will there be a cost associated with testing in schools?
A: Testing is available at no cost to the district, staff members or students’ families.
Q: What will the test results be used for?
A: If testing reveals that the positivity rate among the 20% of those tested is lower than the yellow zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, testing at that school will conclude.
Q: What kind of COVID-19 test will be used in schools?
A: Nasal sampling with a short swab will be conducted. This non-invasive procedure involves swabbing each nostril (the swab will be inserted less than one inch into the nostril) for about 10 seconds. The probe will NOT be inserted into the inner nasal cavity. Test results will be available in about 15 minutes. If a child tests positive for COVID-19, the child’s family will be called to pick up their student from the school’s COVID isolation room.
Q: Where will the district’s testing sites be located?
A: Testing will be performed in each of the schools by OCHD representatives in conjunction with school personnel (administrators, clerical staff, counselors, and or school nurses) to ensure familiarity with the students and so that social distancing measures can be maintained.
Q: Will remote teachers or students be required to be tested?
A: No, remote teachers or students are currently excluded from having to be tested since they are not conducting or receiving in-person instruction in the building.