Niskayuna school district updates COVID mitigation plan


NISKAYUNA — The Niskayuna Central School District Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to update its tiered COVID mitigation strategy while also noting more changes are still to come.

District students, faculty and staff who test positive must isolate for five days, whether or not they have been vaccinated. They may return to school if their symptoms are improving.

Another change to the plan was the acceptance of rapid home tests based on when they are taken, said interim Superintendent Juliette Pennyman.

Those who are immunocompromised would also have to isolate for 10 days if they test positive, according to the changes.
Pennyman said the updates follow new guidelines from the state Department of Health.

But while the board agreed on those changes, Pennyman said more would be coming. She said they just received updated information regarding contact tracing, which she planned to discuss with nursing staff.

Board President Kim Tully said a recent memo indicated there are changes to not only contact tracing, but after-school activities and quarantining.

“It seems like it’s the beginning of the year all over again, where changes are coming rapidly, so we’ll probably have to update it again pretty soon,” she said. “But I think at least that gets these changes [set] and if there has to be something modified, we can do it again at the next go around.”

Concerts canceled
News of the updated plan comes as the school district recently announced the cancellation of in-person concerts for the rest of January.

“As you know, schools have experienced absences due to COVID (positives and quarantine) and given the extent of our student participation in music, this has of course impacted performing groups,” said Matt Leon, the district’s spokesman, in a Jan. 12 email.

“Given the amount of preparation and planning that goes into concerts and the importance of having performers (who play different roles necessary for the performance, i.e. different instruments or vocal ranges) accompanists and conductors involved, it was necessary to approach concerts this way.”

The district plans to reevaluate the decision in regard to next month’s concerts.

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