Coronavirus protocols in NYC schools: What happens if my child has symptoms or tests positive?
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The 2022-2023 school year is in full swing, and many of the coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols in the last few school years have been eased. So you may be wondering what happens if students exhibit any symptoms of the virus, or if they test positive.
According to the city Department of Education (DOE), public school students should stay home if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses and get tested.
Here’s a look at some of the coronavirus protocols this school year.
What if a student tests positive for COVID-19?
Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 5 days and can return to school on day 6 if they have no symptoms or if symptoms are improving. They must wear a face mask until day 10 after symptom onset, or the date of positive test — whichever is earlier.
These cases should be reported to their school so that the Situation Room is informed for exposure notifications.
Coronavirus symptoms may include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
What happens if a student is exposed to COVID-19?
Students who are exposed to COVID-19 should get tested. These individuals should receive home tests from their school and take two tests, at least 24 hours apart on day 4 and day 5 of their exposure, according to the DOE.
If exposed, students should monitor for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days after their exposure. If symptoms begin, they should not attend school and should isolate and get tested for COVID-19 again right away.
Students, regardless of vaccination status, are also strongly recommended — but not required — to wear a mask if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19, whether the exposure occurred in school or outside of school. The person should wear a mask for 10 days after their last day of exposure and get tested at least 24 hours apart on day 4 and day 5 of their exposure.
What notifications will I receive if my child is exposed?
Schools will be required to report positive coronavirus cases to the city’s Situation Room, which will provide standardized communications through email and the Daily COVID map.
As of Sunday, Sept. 18, there are five Staten Island schools with at least one reported coronavirus case, according to the map.
How will testing work?
This school year, the city has ended in-school PCR testing.
Schools are distributing free, take-home COVID-19 rapid test kits to any students or staff who exhibit COVID-like symptoms or have been in a classroom where a positive case has been identified. Anyone who tests positive on a take-home test should immediately report it to the school and begin isolating. No proof of a negative result is required in order for these students to enter the school building.
Will school buildings be closed due to COVID-19?
Schools will be closed only when it is determined by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) that there is widespread transmission.
The DOE said that with health and safety measures in place, school closures are expected to be limited.