I normally publish the Ken-Ton Weekly Connection and accompanying video update on Fridays, but I am providing these updates today due to the Thanksgiving holiday. I want all of our students, staff, families, and community to enjoy a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving recess.
Today, I would like to focus on a very important task we need our families to complete. All parents and guardians will be receiving a link to an electronic form. This form will allow you to indicate whether you consent to your child being tested for COVID-19 in school. You will receive this link along with detailed instructions and additional information, which you can also find here: https://www.ktufsd.org/Page/19379. This is a follow-up to the testing survey we conducted Nov. 10-11. It is vitally important that all of our families complete one for each child as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the day Sunday, Nov. 29.
This form will tell us which students we can or cannot test in school. This will be critical if our region returns to a Yellow Zone. In a Yellow Zone, we would be required to randomly test 20% of in-person students and staff biweekly. We intend to be ready to carry out this testing at any point if we return to a Yellow Zone. The NYS Department of Health will be providing the Abbott BinexNOW nasal rapid test, which is a quick, simple testing method that is not as invasive as other tests. You can watch a demonstration here: https://youtu.be/h5dRjdLVAPM.
This form will also give us an indication of whether it would be possible to resume in-person instruction in an Orange or Red Zone. As I explained on Friday, there would be significant challenges. Just to recap:
- Schools in an Orange or Red Zone cannot reopen unless 100% of in-person students and staff have confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test prior to reopening. People who refuse to test or test positive will not be allowed to return to in-person instruction in a Red or Orange Zone.
- Schools must then test 25% of students/staff each week, so that 100% are tested every four weeks.
Any students who test positive or decline to be tested would not be able to attend school in person, and thus would have to engage in fully virtual/remote learning. This would be a tremendous challenge at the elementary school level if we hope to resume in-person instruction. Redirecting resources and staffing to serve our fully virtual students simultaneous to in-person/hybrid instruction has been one of the greatest challenges we have faced since July. Simply put, there is no more capacity to add students to fully virtual learning at the elementary level.
Once again, I ask all of our families to complete this survey no later than Sunday, Nov. 29.