Q: What type of mask should be worn by students and staff during in-person schooling?
Masks are a physical barrier to help keep respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.
The following two types can be used in all school settings (in addition to maintaining social distancing whenever possible):
- Medical masks (also called surgical or procedure masks): These are pleated rectangular coverings with elastic ear loops. A medical mask filters about 60% to 80% of particles and mostly blocks large-particle droplets, splashes, or sprays that may contain germs. These masks are disposable.
- Cloth or fabric masks: The CDC recommends we cover our faces with a cloth in public. The effectiveness of homemade masks varies depending on the fabric used, the style, and the fit. These masks are washable.
PLEASE NOTE that N-95 respirators, masks with an exhaust valve, and gaiters are NOT to be used by staff and students in schools.
Q: Who is responsible for contact tracing for students, faculty, and staff?
Effective contact tracing in the school environment is a collaborative effort between the school and the UCDOH. The health department will need the assistance of schools to provide staff and student rosters, schedules, and other information to identify exposed individuals, arrange for testing, etc. The contact tracer will also identify people outside of the school setting who may have been exposed to the case, and complete the appropriate follow-up.
Q: Will contact tracers release the name of the positive individual to their contacts?
No. Contact tracers will tell potentially infected persons that they were exposed and they will not disclose the identity of the person to whom they were exposed. In some situations, the positive case has already reached out to their contacts and notified them of their positive status.
Q: How long will contacts of positive COVID-19 cases be required to quarantine?
Individuals who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the date they were last exposed.
Q: If a contact is tested during the 14 day quarantine period and is found to be negative, does the quarantine end early?
A negative test does not release an individual from quarantine. The test measures if someone is currently infected with the virus, and it can take up to 14 days for an infection to develop after being exposed. For this reason, quarantine needs to last the full 14 days, even if you have a negative test result after being exposed.
Q: When should an exposed individual get tested for COVID-19?
Testing should be done approximately 5-7 days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. Exposed individuals must remain on quarantine after being tested. If a person tests positive, they will be placed in isolation. Even if the test is negative, the individual must continue to quarantine for the full 14 days.
Q: Do students coming back from vacation from a state identified on Governor Cuomo’s travel advisory need to quarantine?
Yes, students who are coming to New York from any of states on the travel advisory list need to be quarantined for 14 days.
Q: What qualifies as an exposure to COVID-19?
An exposure is defined as being within 6 feet of a person displaying symptoms of, or testing positive for, COVID-19, for 15 minutes or longer. Close contacts will be required to quarantine. Proximate contact is defined as being in the same enclosed environment such as a classroom or office, but greater than 6 feet from a person displaying symptoms of or testing positive for COVID-19. The UCDOH Points System will determine if a proximate contact should be under quarantine.
Q: Why is the isolation period for an infected person shorter than the quarantine period of a contact?
The time period for incubation is different from the time period of illness and infectiousness. When a person is exposed to COVID-19, it can take up to 14 days for the person to develop the disease (incubation), hence the quarantine period is 14 days. Once the disease develops, a person is infectious from 2 days prior to symptoms appearing to 10 days after the symptoms develop, hence the isolation period is at minimum 10 days.
Q: If a child tests positive and has a sibling in the school, should the school keep the sibling out of school?
Yes, unless the siblings reside in separate households, the sibling must be placed on quarantine which would mean that the sibling should not attend school during the required period for quarantine.
Q: Does the student have to quarantine if the parent had contact and is quarantining, but does not have symptoms?
If a member of the household is quarantining because of either a known exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual or because of traveling, other members of the household can leave the home if that person can quarantine properly from the household members. A quarantined person should:
- Separate themselves from other members of the household
- Use a separate bedroom and bathroom
- Do not share linens, towels, eating utensils, cups and plates
- Limit time in common household areas, such as kitchens
Q: In regards to screening, should it be prior to entering the building or before they leave their house?
School districts are required to have a protocol in place to perform temperature and health screenings for COVID symptoms. Screenings by the parent/guardian prior to school are preferred. Symptomatic individuals should not leave their households. Parents/ guardians/ students should be provided with information explaining the importance of monitoring for symptoms and remaining at home whenever symptoms are recognized.