COVID-19 Testing in School FAQ

As COVID-19 clusters crop up throughout the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a Micro-Cluster Strategy to help stop the virus from spreading.

Clusters and the areas around them are categorized into one or more color-coded zones (Red Zones, Orange Zones and Yellow Zones) with corresponding levels of restrictions based on severity. New rules and restrictions directly relate to these areas to help control COVID-19 spread and protect hospital capacity.

Once an area is placed into a micro-cluster zone, its restrictions are in effect for a minimum of 14 days.

Frequently Asked Questions                               

Q: How will we know if the Capital Region BOCES in a designated yellow, orange or red micro-cluster zone?

A: If Capital Region BOCES center-based programs (Airline Drive, Maywood School, Albany CTE, Schoharie CTE and CAT Mohonasen) fall within an area that is placed into a micro-cluster zone by the New York State Department of Health, BOCES will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and  families/caregivers with as much advance notice as possible. Please make sure your contact information is up-to-date by sharing any changes with the main office of your child’s school or program. View a map of COVID hot spot zones by address.

Q: What happens if Capital Region BOCES is placed in a yellow zone?

A: While schools can remain open if they are placed into a yellow zone, schools in yellow zones must test 20% of in-person students, faculty and staff over the two-week period immediately following the announcement of the yellow zone designation. If this testing shows that the positivity rate is lower than the yellow zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, testing at that school will no longer be required.

If the testing over the first two weeks reveals that the positivity rate among in-person student, staff and faculty is higher than the yellow zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, the school will be required to continue to test 20% of the in-person population on a bi-weekly basis.

Q: Can teachers/administrators/staff report to work if BOCES’ is in a yellow zone?

A: Yes, there is no prohibition on staff reporting, other than abiding by the district’s current COVID-19 safety and health guidance (wearing masks, participating in daily health screenings, maintaining and encouraging a social distance where possible, etc.).

Q: What happens if our Capital Region BOCES is placed in an orange zone?

A: For schools located in a geographic area designated as an orange zone, a total of 20% of in-person students, faculty and staff must be tested for COVID-19 over the one-month period following the zone designation. The numbers tested will be proportionately spread across the month with 10% the maximum/minimum to be tested biweekly.

Q: What happens if our Capital Region BOCES is placed in a red zone?

A: For schools located in a geographic area designated as a red zone, a total of 30% of in-person students, faculty and staff must be tested for COVID-19 over the one-month period following the zone designation. The numbers tested should be proportionately spread across the month with 15% the maximum/minimum to be tested biweekly

Q:  If Capital Region BOCES is placed into an orange or red zone, how will individuals be randomly selected for COVID-19 testing?

A: Capital Region BOCES is maintaining a confidential database that includes the names of all eligible students and staff members who completed the consent to testing. Testing will start on a volunteer basis, and after that, we will randomly select the students and staff to be tested to meet the required threshold of the percentage of the on-site population to be tested.

Q:  If Capital Region BOCES is placed into an orange or red zone, how will individuals be randomly selected for COVID-19 testing?

A: Capital Region BOCES is maintaining a confidential database that includes the names of all eligible students and staff members who completed the consent to testing. Testing will start on a volunteer basis, and after that, we will randomly select the students and staff to be tested to meet the required threshold of the percentage of the on-site population to be tested.

Q: Where will the Capital Region BOCES testing sites be located?

A: If a school is in a zone, the testing will take place in that school.

Q: Will remote teachers or students be required to be tested?

A: No, remote teachers or students are currently excluded from having to be tested since they are not conducting or receiving in-person instruction in the building.

Q: What kind of COVID-19 test will be used?

A: As of Dec. 14, 2020, Capital Region BOCES will be using the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Rapid test approved by and supplied by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

Q: How long does it take to get COVID-19 rapid test results?

A: Results are available in approximately 15 minutes.

Q: What happens if a student or staff member does not consent to having a COVID-19 test?

A: If a student or staff member does not consent to have a COVID-19 test, they will not be administered one.

Q. Can I be present when my child is tested?

A: Parents and guardians may not be present for testing during the school day as we must limit the number of people within our school buildings. The Binax test is a non-invasive, COVID-19 rapid test, and it will be administered under the supervision of a trained medical professional or staff.