New COVID-19 cases continued to emerge in school districts across the region this week, as Niskayuna reported its first case Wednesday, while Shenendehowa announced on Tuesday that a second student has tested positive for COVID-19.
In Niskayuna, while district officials on Wednesday informed the district community that “a member of the Rosendale Elementary School Community” had tested positive for COVID-19, they did not offer details about whether the person was a student or staff member nor when they had last been in the school building, citing privacy laws.
District officials were notified of the positive case Wednesday, according to the message, and have since been working with the Schenectady County Public Health department to identify who at the school came in contact with the person who has tested positive. The health department will contact anyone who either needs to quarantine or get tested.
As district leaders across the region take a not-if-but-when view of positive cases within districts, a handful of other Capital Region districts have reported a small number of positive cases since school started about two weeks ago, including Burnt Hills, Mohonasen, Guilderland and North Colonie.
While the handful of cases have not forced schools to close – though a case in Mohonasen where all building principals were at risk of exposure caused major disruption there – they have served as a reminder of the challenges facing districts reopening schools while the pandemic persists.
The new Shenendehowa case was related to the first positive case in the district, according to a release the district posted Tuesday. The two High School East students that have tested positive have not been at the school building since Sept. 15, according to a release from the district. The district has been working with the Saratoga Public Health Department to conduct necessary contact tracing to identify individuals subject to quarantine and in need of testing.
Both cases stem from “a point of exposure in a recreational contact outside of school,” according to the district’s release. District officials have also urged students and staff to be careful about contacts and potential exposure when out of school, too.
“We cannot emphasize enough that parents, students and staff members need to be just as vigilant following guidelines outside of school,” the district wrote in its messages to families announcing the positive cases. “This includes limiting group gatherings, practicing good hygiene, wearing masks and following social distance guidelines.”
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