COVID-19 Test to Stay Program FAQs

Lackawanna City School District Test to Stay Program
The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) has granted approval for the Lackawanna City School District (LCSD) to implement a Test to Stay (TTS) program under our district’s limited services laboratory license (LSL) and medical director. 
Effective January 27, 2022, LCSD will implement a Test to Stay (TTS) program to allow asymptomatic unvaccinated school-based close contacts (students and staff) to avoid school exclusion (but not other restrictions of quarantine) by testing negative through serial testing using rapid NAAT or antigen tests during a five-day period following exposure.  
LCSD COVID-19 Test to Stay Program (TTS): FAQs 

Q. Who is eligible to participate in the TTS program?
A. LCSD will provide rapid antigen testing for consenting asymptomatic, unvaccinated P-12 students and staff to attend in-person classes, while under close contact quarantine. Students and staff who are fully vaccinated and/or tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days are not required to quarantine following exposure and, therefore, do not need to participate in the TTS program.

Q. Can students and staff participate in the TTS program if exposure occurred outside of school?
A. People exposed in a community setting are now eligible to participate in the Test to Stay program. Previously, only those who were exposed within the school setting were eligible. Household close contacts are still NOT eligible (e.g., a student’s parent/guardian/sibling with whom they live tests positive).

Q. When and where will students and staff be tested under the TTS program?
A. Students and staff who consent to the TTS program will be tested upon arrival at their school building (health office) by a trained school nurse (RN or LPN). COVID-19 testing will start each morning, upon opening of the school building. Students will be allowed to ride the bus to school and be tested immediately upon arrival. Students and staff must wait 15 minutes while their test is processed and receive a negative test result before starting their school day. Students and staff that receive a positive test result will remain isolated and sent home immediately (parent/guardian must pick up their child). The district will conduct school-based contact tracing procedures in the event an individual tests positive.

Q. What type of COVID-19 test will be administered on students and staff?
A. LCSD will utilize non-invasive (short nasal or saliva swabs) rapid antigen tests to conduct the TTS program. Results are typically confirmed and recorded within 15 minutes.

Q. How often will students and staff be tested under the TTS program?
A. If a student in the TTS program is exposed to a new COVID-19 case, the “five-day clock” restarts from the date of the most recent exposure.
Q. Does the TTS program allow students and staff to participate in activities outside of the school day?
A. Test to Stay does not permit a student to participate in sports or extracurricular activities such as band, chorus, theater and/or other activities outside of the school day for the duration of the 5-day quarantine period.  According to ECDOH, the TTS program is meant to ensure that students can attend in-person instruction during the regular school day.  A student in the TTS program must remain under quarantine outside of school.

Q. Is there a cost associated with participation in the TTS program?
A. No, families do not have to pay for testing through the TTS program. The district has secured enough COVID-19 antigen test kits through NYS to implement this program.

Q. What will the district do with test results?
A. All tests performed under the TTS program will be reported to ECLRS and NYSDOH COVID-19 Report Card on a daily basis. Results will also be reported daily to ECDOH.
Students and staff can request a copy of their test results upon request to their school nurse. 

Q. What happens after a student or staff member tests negative for five (5) days?
A. For students and staff who test negative on day 5:
  1. Testing is no longer required through the TTS program for this exposure.
  2. Such students and staff still remain under an official quarantine order through day 5 and cannot participate in any non-academic activities (e.g. sports or clubs) until the end of the 5-day quarantine.
  3. Once the quarantine order is lifted, the student should continue to self-monitor (or monitor by the parent) for COVID-19 symptoms through day 14.
  4. If the student develops symptoms on days 6-14, the student should isolate and follow NYS school guidance for returning to school.

Q. How do I sign up to participate in the TTS program?
A. LCSD must receive consent from parents/guardians for their student to participate in the TTS program. Consent for students and staff can be accomplished by completing the consent form and returning to your school nurse.

For further information about the Test to Stay (TTS) program, please contact your student’s school health office and/or building administrator. 

Note: ECDOH may adjust TTS policy at any time and will communicate any changes to schools. 

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