September 7, 2021
Dear West Genesee Families,
I hope your family is well and that you share the excitement of the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. This letter is intended to provide information regarding COVID-19 testing at West Genesee Schools in the upcoming weeks and months. In partnership with the Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD), we will work with Quadrant Biosciences and SUNY Upstate Medical University to incorporate their Clarifi COVID-19 testing program.
Asymptomatic Group Surveillance Testing
West Genesee will offer frequent opportunities for asymptomatic testing. The “group” approach (also known as “pool”) is surveillance testing designed to check the status of a sample population of a school. This could confirm no trace of virus or serve as an early notification strategy for a person contracting the COVID-19 virus without having developed symptoms. Initially, we will work with OCHD to test weekly with a goal of 10% of students and staff. See the overview video here.
This will be voluntary and only occur for students with a universal consent. Each week, a random draw will occur from the list of participants. Parents will be notified of their child’s participation and will receive their test results via email. With a group testing positive, each of the twelve persons quarantine as the samples are then tested individually. There is no need for a second sampling collection as the process is “reflexive”. All members of that group are contacted with the results.
The test used will be the Clarifi COVID-19 Saliva Test that is a very simple and painless saliva swab that the student can easily self-administer with supervision, as shown in this short video.
REGISTER: In order to begin this process, parents willing to participate will need to register with the county selected vendor “Quadrant Laboratories, LLC” which can be found here or by using the link: app.Clarifi-COVID-19.com. (You may wish to preview this video which provides you an overview of the quick registration process.) Be sure to use the option “add a profile” for each child being registered. You will find the name of your individual school (East Hill Elementary School, Camillus Middle School, etc.) rather than West Genesee CSD as a whole. (Note: you do not need to “add a COVID-19 test” when prompted.) You will be asked to include information of Health Insurance, however you will not be billed due the Federal Cares Act.
West Genesee will now also provide the Clarifi COVID-19 Saliva Test for any individual who becomes symptomatic during the school day. This also requires consent from parents. As you remember from last school year, individuals developing symptoms during the day are sent to the health office, isolated, and parents are contacted to pick the student up from school. This new resource will provide the option for testing that will be sent directly to a lab for results. (NOTE: Individuals with symptoms should not report to a school building. Tests will only be available for persons developing symptoms during the course of the day and only for students for whom there is a completed universal consent form.)
Please find a Consent Form here that is also attached to this communication. With this form, you can sign-up for pooled (grouped random surveillance testing) OR diagnostic (symptomatic) testing OR both. Please complete, sign, and print this form and return to your school.
Reminder of Available Resources
As a continued reminder for all community members, in Onondaga County there are a number of resources for individuals to get tested. On the Heath Department’s website https://covid19.ongov.net/appointments/#SEC you can find the hours and locations for a molecular test (PCR) or an antigen test (suitable for asymptomatic individuals) and access the NYS COVID-19 Test Site Finder: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you.
In our community, testing is provided at Upstate Medical University (including a walk-in site at Upstate Community Hospital), Syracuse Community Health Center, Quest Diagnostics clinics, many pharmacies (CVS, Kinney, RiteAid, Walmart, Walgreens), and WellNow Urgent Care centers. Your personal physician may be consulted and be able to provide testing.
Please consider having your child participate in this important testing program. The health and safety of our students, staff, and community is our highest priority. This will be a part of ongoing safeguards toward that effort. Thank you!
David C. Bills
Superintendent of Schools
West Genesee Cental School District