State issues new COVID-19 guidance for 2022-23 school year

On Monday, Aug. 22, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the state’s plan to adopt the latest COVID-19 guidance pertaining to K-12 schools ahead of the 2022-23 school year.

The revised guidance was jointly released by New York State Department of Health and New York State Education Department and aligns with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols . It seeks to prevent the spread of not only COVID-19, but other infectious diseases and provide school districts with more flexibility heading into the new academic year, according to Hochul.

The most recent operational guidance includes updates to isolation, staying home when sick or symptomatic, masking, testing and daily test results reporting.

COVID-19 Exposure

Under the revised guidelines, students and staff (regardless of vaccination status or history of prior COVID-19 infection) who are exposed to COVID-19 will no longer need to quarantine at home and the former “test-to-stay” practice is no longer in effect. CDC recommends that individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after the exposure and get tested at least five days after close contact (or sooner if symptoms develop).

COVID-19 Symptoms and Positive Test Results

Regardless of vaccination status, students and staff who are sick or suspect that they may have COVID-19, but do not yet have test results should isolate themselves from others.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate themselves at home for five days. Students and staff members can return to school after five days of isolation if they have remained symptom-free, or if their symptoms are improving and they have remained fever-free without utilizing fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours.

At the completion of isolation, students and staff members should wear a well-fitting mask through day 10. Antigen testing can be utilized (but is not required) to potentially shorten the duration of post-isolation mask use. With two sequential negative antigen tests (administered 48 hours apart), students and staff can remove their masks sooner than day 10. 

Face Coverings/Masks

Universal masking is not required at this time. However, local health departments have the authority to implement masking requirements. Any student or staff member may wear a mask while at school to prevent the spread of illness.

Surveillance Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing

Schools are no longer required to offer or conduct COVID-19 screening testing, test unvaccinated staff or conduct contact tracing, and will no longer report daily test results to the Department of Health. Additionally, F-M will no longer post to its website weekly positive COVID-19 case counts as reported by the school.

Pooled-saliva surveillance testing will be offered in partnership with Onondaga County. More details will be forthcoming including the distribution of the consent forms that are required in order for a student or staff member to participate. Those that complete the consent form will also be required to register on the Quadrant Biosciences website in order to receive the testing results.

Parents and guardians who wish to request a free COVID-19 at-home test kit should contact the main office of their child’s school to arrange for pickup during normal business hours.

Public Health Updates

Fayetteville-Manlius School District will continue to follow public health and wellness guidance provided by the CDC and local and state health agencies, and will share any updates with the school community via SchoolMessenger and on the district website. 

Families with individual concerns regarding medically fragile and complex situations are encouraged to contact their building principal and or school nurse to discuss on an individual basis.