COVID-19 Update: Symptoms Monitoring, Quarantines/Close Contacts, What to do if a Child Tests Positive

Alexander Wolff

Dear Families, 

While we are excited to have all of our students back in the classroom this year, we must continue to work together as we seek to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. With that in mind, I wanted to share the following reminders and clarifications with regard to monitoring symptoms, quarantines and returning to school. 

What to do if your child has COVID-19 symptoms

It is critically important that you monitor your child’s symptoms. If any child is showing symptoms of COVID-19, they must not attend school and you should notify your respective school nurse. Students who exhibit one or more symptoms may return to school ONLY if they receive a negative PCR test. A list of testing locations is available on the District website. As a reminder, COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Diarrhea

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Nausea or vomiting

If your child is determined to be a close contact

When an unvaccinated student is determined to have been a close contact with an individual who is positive for COVID-19, they will be required by the Department of Health to quarantine for 10 days. So long as the student remains asymptomatic, they may return to school following the 10-day quarantine. While we had hoped the Department of Health would allow students to be released from quarantine early with a negative COVID test, no such provision has been adopted by the New York State Department of Health at this time. 

Students are considered a close contact if they spend 15 cumulative minutes over a 24 hour period within 3-feet of a positive individual or if they are within 3-6 feet of the positive individual and either are not properly masked. Vaccinated students are not required to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic. 

Proof of Vaccination

As a reminder, families are strongly encouraged to provide proof of your child’s vaccination (ages 12+) to expedite contact tracing efforts in the event they are exposed to COVID-19 while at school. Acceptable proof of vaccination includes a photo of the front of your child’s vaccination card or a screenshot of the New York State Excelsior Pass from your smart device. Please send proof of vaccination via email to COVID-19 Coordinator Bridget Gates at bgates@pelhamschools.org

If your child tests positive for COVID-19

Families should report positive cases using this Google Form. After the positive test is recorded, families should expect to be contacted by the Westchester County Department of Health and the child will be instructed to isolate for a period of time (typically 10 days from symptom onset or the positive test result if asymptomatic). Families may also be contacted by a school district staff member for contact tracing purposes. Once the isolation period has concluded, the Department of Health will provide families documentation allowing children to return to school. This documentation should be provided to your respective school nurse before your child attends school. 

If you have any additional questions, please contact the District’s COVID-19 Coordinator, Bridget Gates, and thank you for your continued support in keeping our schools open and safe this year. 

Sincerely,

Cheryl H. Champ, Ed. D. 

Superintendent of Schools

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