COVID-19 testing at BKW schools begins in October

A message from the Superintendent
Dear BKW Families,

Our 750 students deserve to have the best learning experiences every day in a safe and healthy environment. Their future depends on it. The following information outlines our school district’s partnership with the Albany County Department of Health to participate in a new, statewide COVID-19 Testing in Schools program to screen for coronavirus infection.

It is important to note that a profile must be created with Quadrant Bioscience to participate. Details are provided below.

Thank you for your commitment to make our district one that seeks to be excellent and for your patience and flexibility as we work together to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In service to the BKW community,
Dr. Timothy Mundell
Superintendent of Schools

COVID-19 testing at BKW Schools

The goal: Safe and healthy schools for continued in-person learning & activities

BKW Central School District is partnering with the Albany County Department of Health to participate in a new statewide COVID-19 Surveillance (screening) Testing in Schools program to screen for coronavirus infection.

  • The goal is to identify COVID-19 quickly and early, which will help stop transmission and keep students in the classroom and able to take part in school activities.
  • In addition to helping protect students and staff, regular testing helps protect family members, those who are not vaccinated, and individuals who are at risk of severe illness and hospitalization.
  • BKW is following requirements from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep our students and staff safe and our schools open.

Student testing only with parental consent

Governor Hochul has secured federal funding for schools to begin this screening process, and BKW is requesting parental consent for students to be tested. Consent is granted when a profile is created in the Quadrant Biosciences app link below. Without consent, your child will not be part of this program to be screened for COVID-19.

Who will be tested?

  • Screening testing will be offered to students, regardless of vaccination status, who have opted in during the weeks when the CDC has defined the rate of COVID-19 community transmission in Albany County as substantial (10%), or high (20%).
  • Teachers and staff who have not provided documentation of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are required by NYSDOH to be tested for COVID-19 at least once per week.
  • Additionally, testing will be offered to any student, teacher or staff member if they exhibit one or more symptoms of COVID-19, if they are a close contact of a student, teacher, or staff person with COVID-19 infection, or in connection with their participation in an extracurricular activity or sport for which testing may be conducted.

It is important to note

  • There is no requirement that unvaccinated students undergo screening testing, and those who do not participate can still come to school.
  • During moderate and low transmission rates, we will not offer screening testing, however, we will offer on-demand testing for any staff or student who wants it.

How to participate

Parents/guardians who consent to surveillance testing for their child MUST register with Quadrant Biosciences (https://app.clarifi-covid-19.com/). The process of registration includes providing consent for testing.

How is the testing done?

COVID-19 testing is quick, easy and does not hurt. The testing program uses a saliva-based, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. PCR tests are the most accurate tests for detecting the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Individuals will gently swab their mouth with a Q-tip and place the Q-tip in a vial and screw a cap on.
  • To see how simple the process is, click this link to view a short video.
  • We will accommodate all students’ needs to help them be comfortable during the test.

How to prepare for testing

Individuals being tested should NOT eat or drink anything (with the exception of water), including chewing gum, mints or lozenges, tobacco or smokeless tobacco products, within 30 minutes of their testing time. Mouthwash and toothpaste should NOT be used within an hour of testing.

No cost for testing

There is no out-of-pocket cost to participate in the program, regardless of health insurance status. When you register with Quadrant Biosciences, they will ask for insurance. The Albany County Department of Health has confirmed that you will not be charged copays or deductibles for this testing.

When and where will the testing be done?

Our school’s testing will take place weekly during periods of substantial or high COVID-19 community transmission. Those who participate in certain sports or extracurricular activities may be recommended for more frequent testing.

A testing clinic will be available for students on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the elementary school student entrance vestibule. This clinic will be for students only, and it will begin on Saturday, October 9, at 8:30 a.m.

All employees of the district are required to be tested weekly, or be vaccinated. Vaccinated employees may opt out of testing by submitting proof of vaccination to the district. Employee testing will take place on Thursdays, beginning on Thursday, October 7, 2021.

When will results be available?

Results will be available about 24 hours after the specimens have arrived at the lab, and our school nurses will call parents/guardians of all positive students.

Your child’s information will be protected

Sharing of information about your child will only be done for public health purposes and in accordance with applicable law and policies protecting student privacy and the security of your child’s data. Only the NYS Department of Health, Albany County Department of Health and the local health department where the student resides (if not Albany County) will receive results.