• NYSDOH and Tompkins County Guidelines for School Attendance/Returning after COVID infection Effective 3/3/22

    • Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID and do not have a negative PCR test, must isolate at home and away from others for at least 5 days.
    • If you have  positive antigen test, a PCR test is not necessary. Enter the antigen into the TCHD website which will generate a letter indicating you are positive.
    • Employees should send that letter to Megan Hildreth -if your test was a PCR test, send those results to Megan Hildreth
    • The day symptoms start or the day of a positive test-whichever came first- is day zero of isolation. For more information on isolation and quarantine, see the TCHD website
    • Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 may return to school after isolation on Day 6 if they are fever free for 24 hours, symptoms are improving, and they feel well enough to attend school.  Upon return, they MUST wear mask days 6 – 10 of their isolation period (this includes both those that tested positive for COVID-19 and those that had symptoms of COVID and did not get tested).  If they are unable to wear a mask they will be asked to finish their isolation at home.
    • A negative COVID test is NOT necesary to return to school after testing positive for COVID.
    • A negative PCR test is necessary to return to school if symptomatic, regardless of vaccination status (individuals that have had a covid infection within the last 90 days - see “NYSDOH guidance changes and updates” below)
    • If your child is experiencing any ONE symptom of COVID-19, they must remain home from school. Please notify the school nurse if your child has any ONE of the following symptoms:


    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    NYSDOH guidance changes and updates:

    • A negative rapid-antigen test is advised to return to school if symptomatic and within 90 day period from recent covid infection (individual also needs to have improving symptoms, be fever free for at least 24 hours and meet all existing school criteria)
    • School nurses may require a mask for children with COVID symptoms when entering their office and until they are picked up by a guardian.
    • Exposed individuals, as recommended by NYSDOH, regardless of vaccination status, may remain in school if asymptomatic by appropriately wearing a well-fitting mask for 10 days following their last exposure and undergoing recommended home-antigen testing on day 5 after their last exposure.  You can request an at-home antigen test kit from your school nurse to be picked up or sent home with your student.

    NYSDOH recommends students, staff, and teachers wear masks when:

    • They feel more comfortable wearing a mask for personal reasons.
    • They were in the same room within the school as someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer and were exposed or potentially exposed.
    • They are known to have been exposed to COVID-19 in any setting within the previous 10 days.
    • They are moderately-to-severely immunocompromised and have discussed the need to mask with their healthcare provider.

    Helpful links:

    CDC guidelines for masks and respirators

    COVID-19 antigen tests that have received US FDA Emergency Use Authorization




    The LCSD is offering school-based COVID-19 testing during the 2021-22 school year to support the health of our school community by reducing the risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Our testing program consists of two different types of COVID-19 testing: screening testing and symptomatic testing.

    • There is no cost for testing and participation is voluntary.
    • Scroll down for consent links  

    Q    Why implement a testing program?
    A    The LCSD is incorporating testing as part of our comprehensive approach to reducing transmission. Symptom screening, testing, and contact tracing are strategies to identify people infected with SARS-CoV-2 so that we may take actions to slow and stop the spread of the virus.

    The goals of our testing program are to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, reduce out-of-school time, and alleviate barriers to testing (e.g., transportation, testing site operating hours).

    Q    Is participation in testing required for school attendance?
    A    No. Our testing program is voluntary. A parent or guardian must provide consent in order for their child(ren) to participate in screening and/or symptomatic testing.

    Q    What happens if I do not consent to my child getting tested?
    A    All testing is voluntary. Your child will not be required to be tested if you do not consent. We strongly encourage providing consent for testing, as it is non-invasive and can support community health. Feel free to reach out to your child’s school nurse and/or principal if you have questions.

    If you have questions regarding testing, please contact Sandy Koch at

    Q    How does symptomatic testing work?
    A    Students with caregiver consent who show signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while at school are tested in the nurse's office before leaving campus to self-isolate at home.

    Q    How are samples collected for symptomatic testing?
    A    Collections are done with what is called a lower anterior nasal swab, which is a collection swab about the size of a Q-tip that is placed just into the lower part of the nose and swirled around 3 times to collect the sample. This approach is much more comfortable and is not the collection method where the swab is placed deep into the nose. Students can self-sample or the school nurse can collect a sample for them.

    Q    How long does it take to receive symptomatic test results?
    A    Samples collected at school sites are transported via courier to Cayuga Health System laboratories, and test results are generally available within 24-48 hours. The turnaround time may be subject to change based upon demand and laboratory capacity.

    Q    How do I view symptomatic test results?
    A    After symptomatic students are tested for COVID-19 at school, the test results are posted on the Cayuga Medical Center Patient Portal. Directions for accessing your results can be found below. If you still have questions about whether your child is cleared to return to school, you may contact the school nurse.

    If you have a Patient Portal account:
    •    Go to
    •    Sign in with your portal account information
    •    Click on Health Record and then Results

    If you do not have a Patient Portal account:
    •    Go to
    •    Click on the Sign Up link and fill in the enrollment information
    •    Receive an immediate email confirmation and create your login/password
    •    Click on Health Record and then Results

    If you need assistance with your Patient Portal account, call 607-319-5708 or email For answers to frequently asked questions regarding testing and results, visit

    Q    If the result is positive, does my child need another test to confirm the result?
    A    No. The samples collected in school are analyzed using molecular testing technology. These are high-sensitivity, high-specificity tests for diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection. If your child's symptomatic testing result is positive, you can expect a phone call from the county health department with further instructions.

    Q and A also found on our district website: School Based COVID-19 Testing Program


    Symptomatic Testing at School 

    Symptomatic testing is in affiliation with Cayuga Health System.  Symptomatic testing will occur on an as needed based on COVID symptoms.  You only need to consent/register your child once - LINK for SYMPTOMATIC TESTING ONLY

    RC Buckley Elementary

    Middle School

    High School

    If you have any questions or difficulties, please contact Sandy Koch


    Concentric by Ginkgo Asymptomatic/Screening Test

    Consent for 18 years of age and younger (minors)
    Access Code for both staff and students is: BOBCAT1
    Consent for over 18 years of age:  
    Access Code for both staff and students is: BOBCAT1
    The anticipated weekly testing schedule is below when school is in-person. We will not be offering asymptomatic/screening testing when school is virtual. 
    The anticipated weekly testing schedule is below when school is in-person. 

    Weekly Testing Schedule


    • ES student testing outside the district office 9:15 am- 12noon


    • MS student testing-conference room 8am-10:15am 
    • HS student testing in the LGI 10:40am-12:15pm


    • Employee testing outside district office 11:30am-3pm



    The testing schedule is subject to change.


    We have chosen to participate in Operation Expanded Testing, a program supported and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Concentric by Ginkgo to provide COVID-19 PCR  testing to K-12 schools at no cost to the school. Participation in this program helps schools stay safer against the risk of COVID-19.    At this time, we are extending the offer of weekly COVID 19 screening testing to our student body and employees.  The testing schedule is above and will be offered in each building for students.

    Concentric by Ginkgo screening testing is pooled testing and does not offer individual results. The school receives the results of the pool and individual results if run. If any individual in a pool is positive, that individual will be notified. With pooled testing, no news is good news. We typically have the results from the pooled testing within 48-72 hours and if you "need" to know a result, please email Sandy Koch at

    PK-12 public school districts are required to offer weekly screening testing for all students and employees, in addition to mandating screening testing on a weekly basis for all unvaccinated employees. 

    If you would like a paper copy of the parental consent form, please contact your school. 

    Students whose parents/guardians decide to opt-out of the program and who are not tested at the same  frequency as the rest of the school may be required to follow other guidance or rules set by the school  administration. Please check with your school to find out more information.


    Who will do the testing? 

    School staff manage the testing process. If students can swab themselves with  adult supervision, if they choose. Staff will perform the swab collection for younger children, as needed.

    What type of test is being used? 

    Collections are done with what is called a lower anterior nasal swab, which is a collection swab about  the size of a Q-tip that is placed just into the lower part of the nose and swirled around 3 times to collect  the sample. This approach is much more comfortable and is not the collection method where the swab  is placed deep into the nose.  

    How do I see my child’s results? 

    The methods being used include pooling, which means that several tests are combined into a single specimen and that specimen is processed as one sample. This dramatically increases the ability to test  large numbers of people in shorter timeframes. If your child is part of a pool that does not detect  COVID-19, then you will not get an individual result (but the school will be notified that the pool sample  was negative).  

    Instructions for families on “how to” complete the registration/consent, can be found here Instructions for consent 

    Who has access to my child’s information? 

    The consent form indicates that test results can be shared with the school and appropriate federal  oversight committees responsible for tracking and reporting COVID-19 cases. This includes Concentric by Ginkgo and the lab, Eurofins, as well as any other laboratories used to process samples. The information received is the information you or your school to help identify the individual testing.  Concentric and the lab do not receive medical information from medical records, so we only have access to the information that is provided to us for the purpose of testing.  

    If you have any questions regarding screening COVID testing, please contact Sandy Koch at


    COVID 19 Antigen At-Home/Self Tests Resources


    CDC Self Testing





    Any student or staff member exhibiting any of the below COVID-19 like symptoms should not be in school and must stay home until a negative PCR COVID result is provided to the nurse. Asymptomatic siblings/household members no longer need to stay home. Siblings may attend school, as long as they are asymptomatic

    The most common COVID 19 symptoms are listed below:
    • Fever or chills (100°F or greater)
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    Any child presenting to the school nurse with any of the above possible covid symptoms will be sent home. Asymptomatic siblings will NOT be sent home and may remain in school as long as they remain asymptomatic.

    To return to school after experiencing COVID symptoms, the school nurse must receive a negative PCR COVID test to clear the student to return. It is the parent's responsibility to provide the school nurse with the negative COVID test for COVID tests NOT performed at the school prior to sending the student back to school. If you have any quesitons plesae contact the building school nurse. Thank you.

    For students who have chronic conditions such as allergies, migraines, etc 

    Sometimes students have chronic conditions that produce covid like symptoms. If your child has a chronic condition, have your child's heatlhcare provider write a note documenting the chronic condition and the symptoms the child experiences. After we have one negative covid test and a note from the healthcare provider, your child will not be sent home or required to stay home when they are experiencing symptoms consistent with this chronic condition. This re-sets at the beginning of each school year. If you have any questions regarding this, contact Sandy Koch, District Coordinator of Health Services at

    Guidelines for symptoms after the COVID vaccine

    Side effects can occur after any vaccine. 

    A child does not need a negative COVID PCR to return to school if their symptoms:

    • Are mild to moderate
    • Are the common post vaccine symptoms of soreness, headache, body aches, tiredness and fever.
    • Start within the first three days after vaccination (the day after vaccination is the most common)
    • Last about one to two days after they begin 
    • Have not had a known contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days
    • DO NOT have any other symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting or loss of taste or smell.

    If symptoms last longer than a few days or you have any questions you should consult with your child’s primary care provider or school nurse before sending them back to school. If you have any questions please contact the building school nurse. 

Steps to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 if You Are Sick

  • If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

    Stay home except to get medical care

    You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

    Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

    People: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

    Animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

    Call ahead before visiting your doctor

    If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

    Wear a facemask

    You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a facemask if they enter your room.

    Cover your coughs and sneezes

    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.

    Clean your hands often

    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    Avoid sharing personal household items

    You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

    Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

    High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

    Monitor your symptoms

    Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

    If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

    Discontinuing home isolation

    Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

CDC Recommends

  • While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:

    • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
    • If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for people who recently traveled from China and have fever and respiratory symptoms.
    • If you are a healthcare provider caring for a COVID-19 patient or a public health responder, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
    • If you have been in China or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient.
    • For people who are ill with COVID-19, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.