State Guidance Update on COVID-19 Symptoms

Dr. Cheryl Champ

As the weather gets cooler and we enter the regular cold and flu season, we wanted to share some important updates in guidance from the New York State Department of Health with regard to how symptoms, even seemingly minor ones, should be handled. As a reminder, families must immediately notify their respective principal if anyone in their household tests positive for COVID-19. 

When a Student Has One or More Symptoms 

If a child is exhibiting one or more symptoms of COVID-19 (including a runny nose), they must stay home from school and seek testing for COVID-19, or see a health care provider within 48 hours. 

  • If the child receives a negative COVID-19 result using a PCR molecular test, they may return to school so long as the student has remained fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine. Please note that a negative result using a rapid test, will only be accepted if it is a molecular test. 
  • A student may also return to school if they present an acceptable note from their health care provider stating a diagnosis of a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms, or a confirmed acute illness (ex. laboratory-confirmed influenza, strep throat, etc.) AND that COVID-19 is not suspected. Please note: a signed note from a health care provider documenting unconfirmed acute illnesses, such as viral upper respiratory illness (URI) or viral gastroenteritis, will not suffice.
  • If the family does not provide a COVID-19 test result or an acceptable note from a health care provider, the District must assume that the student is positive for COVID-19. Accordingly, the student will not be permitted to attend in-person instruction for a minimum of 10 days and appropriate contact tracing will begin in consultation with the Department of Health. 

Siblings/students residing in the same household who are not exhibiting any symptoms are not required to stay home provided that the child with symptoms has not tested positive for COVID-19, is not presumed positive for COVID-19, or has not been directed to quarantine or self-isolate by the Department of Health. Families however always have the option of keeping the siblings home and accessing remote instruction while awaiting test results or a diagnosis from a health care provider. 

Travel Procedures - Updated 11.3.20


Governor Cuomo recently issued a new executive order with regard to interstate travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review the following information, which applies to travel to any state/region that is not contiguous to New York (exceptions include New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Vermont). Please note that essential employees are exempt from these regulations. 

Quarantine Period

Any individual, including children, who travel to one of these states is required to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to New York. Individuals must also complete the New York State Traveler Health Form. 

“Testing Out” of Quarantine Period

Individuals who have spent more than 24 hours in one of these states may “test out” of the 14-day quarantine period by completing each of the following steps:

1) Testing negative for COVID-19 within the three days prior to returning to New York 

2) Quarantining for three days

3) Again testing negative for COVID-19 on the fourth day after returning to the state. 

Upon receipt of the second negative test, the individual may exit quarantine. 

Individuals who travel to one of these states for less than 24 hours do not need to test negative for COVID-19 prior to returning to New York State and may “test out” of quarantine by testing negative on the fourth day after returning. 

Updated Student Health Questionnaire

Based on this updated guidance, we have revised the Student Health Questionnaire. Please access the updated form here

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