Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES (HFHO BOCES) will implement protocols and procedures for how to respond to positive or presumed-positive cases of COVID-19, as well as preventative practices.
School Health Offices
HFHO BOCES has developed processes and protocols for safely caring for a student, faculty, or staff member if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day. These processes and protocols follow CDC and AAP guidelines.
HFHO BOCES has developed a protocol that will require any students with a temperature, or signs of illness to be sent directly to a pre-determined, supervised isolation area, separate from the school’s health office. Staff with a temperature, or with signs of illness will be sent directly home.
This isolation area will be monitored by BOCES Staff while it is occupied by Students. Staff in that area will be outfitted with appropriate PPE. Students in the isolation area will have access to rest rooms.
Students should be escorted from isolation area to their Parent/Guardian. The Parent or Guardian be instructed to call their health care provider, or if they do not have a health care provider, to follow up with a local clinic or urgent care center.
HFHO BOCES has a protocol, that complies with Centers for Disease Control guidance, for the return to school/work for Students and Staff following an illness, or diagnosis of confirmed case of COVID-19, and following a quarantine due to contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
Students who are being sent home will be immediately separated from other students and supervised, in the isolation area, until their parent/legal guardian or emergency contact can retrieve them from school.
The duration of any quarantine, as well as who will be placed in quarantine, will be determined by the local health department and BOCES will follow the local health department’s guidance.
If a student/staff is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 they can return to school:
Once there is no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines, for 24 hours, and
Have no other symptoms for 24 hours,
Or, they have been diagnosed with another condition and has a written note from a healthcare provider stating that they are clear to return to school/work.
If a student/staff is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on a test they should not be at school and should stay at home as directed by the local health department until their quarantine is over and:
It has been at least three 24 hours since the individual has had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine), and
It has been at least 24 hours since the individual’s symptoms improved, including cough and shortness of breath.
Prior to being sent home, any ill students or staff will be assessed by the school nurse. Staff will be instructed to follow-up with their healthcare provider.
HFHO BOCES will work with any student on quarantine to minimize learning loss during that time.
Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated (14 days post final vaccination injection) individuals (students or staff) DO NOT need to quarantine and may remain in the school building if exposed to COVID-19, but must monitor for symptom development; HFHO BOCES should be notified if the fully vaccinated student develops any COVID-19 symptoms.
Previous COVID-19 Infection
Asymptomatic individuals who have recovered from a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 infection during the previous three (3) months DO NOT need to quarantine and may remain in the school building if exposed to COVID-19, but must monitor for symptom development; HFHO BOCES should be notified if the individual develops any COVID-19 symptoms.
Cleaning and Disinfection
HFHO BOCES will ensure adherence to cleaning and disinfection recommendations from the CDC. Most surfaces and objects in school buildings will just need normal routine cleaning. Frequently touched surfaces and objects like light switches, doorknobs will need to be regularly cleaned once a day to further reduce the risk of germs on surfaces and objects.
If someone in the school building has tested positive for COVID-19 and been in the building within the last 24 hours, any spaces they were in will be cleaned and disinfected to further reduce the risk of germs in those spaces.
Students will not be present when disinfectants are in use and will not participate in cleaning and/or disinfection activities.
In the case of an individual testing positive for COVID-19, HFHO BOCES has developed plans to support the local health department in tracing contacts of that individual related to their time in a school building or during school-sponsored events/activities. These plans include:
Definitions of close and proximate contacts from the local department of health
Notifying the local health department to determine what steps are needed for the school community.
Forwarding all appropriate information to the Public Health Department to help determine the extent of potential quarantines.
Return to school/work protocols
Due to HIPPA protections and NYS Education Department guidelines, BOCES will not necessarily notify the community of a positive COVID-19 test in the district, though individuals will be alerted if they have been identified as coming into close or proximate contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Any announcement or notification will come from the local Public Health Department.
Specific messages related to potential changes to protocols/requirements will be sent out as needed and added to the district’s website.
Signage has been placed at the entrances to each of the district’s buildings regarding COVID-19 and face covering requirements. The district has also placed posters in various, conspicuous locations in its buildings regarding; social distancing requirements, hand hygiene, face coverings, and COVID-19 symptoms.