Contact Tracing & Testing

Below are details of the District's Contact Tracing and COVID-19 Testing plans. These plans were developed based on guidance from the Westchester County Department of Health. Please see the county's Frequently Asked Questions document for additional information. 

Contact Tracing

Each school will monitor the number of staff and children who are sent home due to illness as well as daily attendance. If there is a suspected or confirmed case(s) of COVID-19 or an increased pattern of illness, the School Principal or their designee will immediately notify Ms. Julia Chung, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services who will in turn notify the Superintendent of Schools and the Westchester County Department of Health. 

To assist with contact tracing, parents/guardians should report any positive COVID-19 test within their immediate household to their respective school principal(s). In the event that a student/staff or household member tests positive, any other student/staff member living in the same household will be required to quarantine for 14 days. 

The Westchester County Department of Health will serve as the primary organization responsible for contact tracing in the event that students and/or staff members test positive for COVID-19. The District will provide the Department of Health relevant information such as class lists, student/staff schedules, etc. to identify individuals who were in contact with the individual(s) who tested positive for COVID-19. The District and Department of Health will work together to notify those who may have been in close or proximate contact, as defined by the Department of Health. Those in contact may be directed to quarantine and/or self isolate. Please note that neither the District nor the Department of Health are permitted to release the name of any individual who tests positive.

COVID-19 Testing

The District will collaborate with the Department of Health to make testing site locations and resources available to parents, students and staff as needed. Since the Pelham Public Schools is not a COVID-19 testing facility, those who want or require testing should visit the Westchester County Department of Health website, which lists testing locations under the testing, results and treatment tab. Students, parents and staff can also call the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065 for assistance locating a testing site. Please note that there is currently no charge for COVID-19 testing at this time, though health insurance information may be requested. 

The Department of Health recommends that any student or staff member who was exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 get tested five days following the exposure. 

Students and/or staff members who were in close contact, as defined by the department of health, with an individual who tested positive will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Return to School

Students/Staff who tested positive and have COVID-19 symptoms may be released from isolation if:

  • It’s been at least 10 days since the individual first started experiencing symptoms; AND 

  • The individual hasn’t had a fever in at least 24 hours, without taking fever-reducing medication (such as Tylenol); AND 

  • Any shortness of breath/coughing/difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell has improved. 

Students/Staff who tested positive, but are asymptomatic may be released from isolation if:

  • It’s been at least 10 days since the person’s first positive COVID-19 test was collected; AND  

  • The individual hasn’t had any subsequent illness 

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 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. 

Class, School or District Closures

The District will make any decisions with regard to closures in collaboration with the Department of Health. Closures could be made on class-by-class, school-by-school or District-wide basis. In the event that a student/staff member tests or is presumed to be positive for COVID-19 while in school, the District will close specific areas or the entire school for disinfection depending on the circumstance. Closures may extend to different schools based on the network of siblings/households and/or shared staff. These closures will occur for 24 hours or longer. 

Additionally, the Pelham Public Schools may close individual classes, schools or the entire district based on several factors, including an increase in the regional infection rate, guidance from the Governor's office, State Education Department, or Department of Health, or local factors.