To our P.S. 20 Parents & Community:
We hope you had a restful and nourishing winter break, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone again! We’ve been keeping track of all the latest announcements from the city and DOE as students return to school on January 3, and we wanted to share a few updates here. As a reminder, you can also find the latest FAQ’s on COVID and health protocols on ps20.org.
As case counts in New York City continue to rise, it’s more important than ever that we work together as a community to keep our kids and our school safe and healthy. We, along with the DOE, strongly encourage all students get tested before they return to school on January 3. We know getting tested isn’t always easy, and we appreciate families making best efforts! You can find the latest testing sites near you here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/get-tested/covid-19-testing.page
Above all else, as Principal Barbera has stressed, do not send your child to school if they are sick. Thank you for helping to keep our school community safe and healthy in 2022! ❤️
New Home Test Kits
Beginning January 3, schools will distribute free, take-home COVID-19 rapid test kits to any students or staff who exhibit COVID-like symptoms or have been in a classroom where a positive case has been identified. Students who have a take-home test kit will need to take the test two times over the course of five days (each kit includes two tests). Students who may have been exposed to COVID in the school should take a test that evening and then again on Day 5. If a student begins to show symptoms of COVID before Day 5, you should use the test kit immediately.
Anyone who tests positive on a take-home test should immediately report it to the school and begin isolating. Students who test positive must isolate for 10 days and can return to school on Day 11. No negative test is required to return to school.
New Quarantine Policy
The DOE has updated its policies to ensure students safely remain in school as much as possible. Now, if there is a positive case in a classroom:
- Students who were in close proximity to these students will no longer have to quarantine and will continue attending school if they do not have symptoms and do not have a positive test result from a COVID test.
- Instead, all students and adults in that classroom will receive a take-home rapid test kit. The test kits contain two tests.
- Those who have a take-home test kit will need to take two tests over the course of five days.
- For students in 3-K and Pre-K, the quarantine policy will remain the same, meaning that any 3-K or pre-K student who was in close proximity to a positive case will still have to quarantine for 10 days.
Increased In-School “Surveillance” Testing
The DOE is expanding the in-school surveillance testing program to double the number of individuals tested in each school, including both vaccinated and unvaccinated students, in grades 1 and up. The random in-school surveillance program continues to provide public health experts with an accurate look at the prevalence of COVID-19 in schools. The good news is that P.S. 20 already has one of the highest percentages of students opted into testing in the city! We encourage anyone who has not yet opted in to consent to in-school testing through their NYC Schools Account or return a signed paper form to the school. Additional information on testing for students can be found on the DOE website.
While the DOE guidelines around masks have not changed, many experts recommend upgrading our masks to better protect against the more-contagious Omicron variant. The best options are N95, KN95, and KF94; or double-masking—layering a well-fitting cloth mask over a surgical mask. We know that sourcing quality masks isn’t easy, so the PTA is in the process of securing a bulk order of KF94 kids’ masks for any students who want them.
We strongly recommend getting your students vaccinated if they are eligible, as well as getting a flu shot this season. Students 5 and older are able to get vaccinated for free at sites all over the city, and you can find a location near you here: https://vaccinefinder.nyc.gov/
As we mentioned in earlier announcements, there is a $100 incentive for each child, AND for each referral the PS 20 PTA gets, we get $100 that can help us fund PTA School Assistants, more Green Arts and STEAM programming and support for outdoor eating and learning. So, when you go to take your child to get a COVID-19 vaccine at a NYC sponsored site, please make sure that you list the "PS20 Parent and Teachers' Association, Inc." [NO SPACE between PS and 20 otherwise it won't show up] as the referral organization on your intake form.
Thank you and looking forward to seeing everyone back on January 3!
~ Your PTA Board ~