Notes from West Genesee Nurses to Families

Notes from the Nurses (Posted on January 28, 2021)

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Education Law requires all New York State (NYS) public school students to have a health exam when they are a new student in a school district and when they enter Pre-K or Kindergarten, and grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.

Beginning on January 31, 2021, schools cannot accept the health exam if it is not on the required form or the required health record equivalent.

To access the existing required health form on the District website, click here. Please bring the form to your child’s health care provider (HCP), for their next physical exam.

If you have questions, please contact your child’s school nurse for assistance.

Your Nurses

Notes from the Nurses (Posted on January 20, 2021)

Dear Families,
As you know, the number of people affected by the COVID-19 virus in our community has increased significantly in the last several weeks. We’d like to answer some questions that have come up as a result, and share what we have learned along the way; namely regarding testing and quarantines.


If your child is showing symptoms of illness and is recommended for COVID – 19 testing, it is important for you to know the following information regarding rapid test results. These quick results are desirable for a number of reasons when the result is positive. You can begin to care for your child while they isolate at home, family members will quarantine at home as well, and the necessary contact tracing can begin promptly. However, rapid test results that are negative have occasionally been misleading, and should always be followed by a confirmatory molecular test (aka: PCR test), which takes a bit longer to process. In this case, BOTH test results are needed to accurately detect the presence of the virus and BOTH test results are required for your child’s return to school. Therefore, a child should remain at home until the final determination has been made to decrease exposure to others.


Typically, a mandatory quarantine will last 10 days. It will always end at midnight on the day of release and will never be shortened based on negative COVID-19 test results. (Travel related quarantines are subject to a different set of criteria.)

In some cases, a child is in quarantine at home with a family member who has tested positive for the virus. It is important for anyone with the virus to isolate themselves completely away from others in the home. This would mean that those with the virus would be isolated at all times in their own room and have access to their own bathroom.

In some cases, this level of isolation is understandably not possible. Consequently, it is not uncommon for multiple family members to contract the virus. For this reason, your child’s quarantine period will be extended, and will likely begin after they have last been in contact with any family member still able to transmit the virus. In other words, your child’s quarantine will likely begin, when all other family members who have tested positive, are released from isolation.

We know that testing protocols and quarantines can be extremely challenging. Please let us know how we can assist you during this time! Your understanding and support has been tremendous, even in these most difficult circumstances.

Our goal is to promote your family’s health and safety as well as the health and safety of all our families. We cannot meet that goal without your help. Please know that you have our gratitude and our respect. We will always be, stronger together!

Be Well!
Your Nurses

Update of Testing Sites (Posted on November 17, 2020)

Printable Version of Testing Sites Listing as of November 17, 2020

Upstate Golisano After Hours Clinic at Community Hospital
Nasal swab testing – Symptomatic children
Hours: M-F 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Weekends 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
No appointment needed.

Syracuse Community Health Center
Asymptomatic or Symptomatic Individuals
819 S. Salina Street
Hours: M-F 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
(closed: 12:00 pm  – 1:00 p.m. for lunch)
Drive up or Walk up
No appointment needed.

Upstate Hospital Testing Site
Symptomatic or Asymptomatic Individuals
NYS Fairgrounds (Gate 2)
581 State Fair Blvd.
To schedule an appointment:
Call: 315-464-2778 option 0
Register Online: Upstate My Chart –

Regional Market –  Shed  F – 2100 Park St.
1.)  Nasal swab testing for any Symptomatic or Exposed Individuals
Register online –

2.)  Saliva Testing for Symptomatic or Exposed K-12 Students
Hours: M-F 9:00 am-1:00 pm
Register online –
Or call – 315-464-2582 – select option 0

Oncenter – 800 S. State St.
Asymptomatic Individuals with No Exposure
Saliva based rapid test
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Register Online –

Note: Testing is also available at WellNow Urgent Care Facilities.
Appointment needed.
Register Online –

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (November 10, 2020)

Dear Families,

The school year is well underway and it has been heartwarming for us to be with your children over the last several weeks. We know and appreciate all that you have been doing to keep your family safe during this challenging time!

As the weather turns colder and we spend more time indoors in the days ahead, there will be fewer opportunities for us to get together safely with friends and family. For most of us, our holiday celebrations will be very different this year. Because the COVID-19 virus spreads more easily from person to person when we are indoors, we are being encouraged to limit our gatherings to immediate family members only. As a result, many of us will be finding creative ways to connect with those loved ones who cannot join us.

We are providing the following information for your reference, in the event your child shows signs of illness in the days ahead. Please note also, the accompanying advisory related to out of state travel. It is our privilege to work together with you, in promoting the health and safety of your family. We continue to be available as always, to assist with any questions or concerns you may have.

Be Well!
Your Nurses

Printable Version of What to Know When your Child is Ill. (Updated on November 20, 2020)

Travel Advisory Update- Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel

As a reminder, based on federal, state and local guidance, unnecessary travel is highly discouraged and should be avoided, especially to a high risk state or region that is on the New York State COVID-19 travel advisory list or the CDC travel advisory list.

For any unavoidable, medical, or legitimate personal business reasons, please be aware of the following quarantine restrictions for travelers arriving in New York State following out of state travel.

All travelers entering New York State from a state that is not a contiguous state, or from a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice Country, will need to quarantine for a period of 14 days. However, Governor Cuomo has recently updated the guidance relative to travel only, as follows:

  1. Those travelers who traveled outside of New York for more than 24 hours, must obtain COVID-19 testing within 72 hours of leaving the high risk state (region), AND
  2. Those travelers must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for a minimum of three days, measured from the time of arrival. On day 4 the traveler must take another COVID-19 test. If BOTH tests are negative, the traveler can exit the quarantine.         

Contiguous states are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. Travelers from these states are not subject to these restrictions.

Travelers who leave New York State for less than 24 hours do not need to obtain a diagnostic test before departing and do not need to quarantine upon return. However, such travelers must fill out the traveler form upon entry and must obtain a diagnostic test on the fourth day after arrival in New York.

Thank You for your diligence and understanding in helping West Genesee maintain a health and safe environment.

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (October 5, 2020)

Dear Families,

We would like to call your attention to new, unexpected information received on Thursday, October 1 from the New York State Department of Health entitled  “Pre-K to Gr 12 COVID-19 Toolkit”. Some of this information will be familiar to you as it relates to those things you must consider when deciding if your child can come to school. Included are details for when your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19 and what is needed for your child to return to school.

As you know, a healthcare provider evaluation is necessary for children experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Based on that evaluation, a healthcare provider will recommend a COVID-19 diagnostic test OR the provider will give an alternate diagnosis (p A-2). Please note the extremely limited circumstances under which a healthcare provider may provide an alternate diagnosis: “a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms, or a confirmed acute illness (laboratory confirmed influenza, strep throat) AND COVID-19 is not suspectedFurthermore, “a healthcare provider note documenting unconfirmed acute illness, such as viral upper respiratory illness (URI) or viral gastroenteritis will not suffice”.

Please note also, that if a COVID-19 Diagnostic test is recommended but not done and there is no alternate diagnosis OR your child is not evaluated by a healthcare provider, your child must remain in isolation at home (p B-2). In either of these cases, your child will be unable to return to school until released from isolation by the by Onondaga County Health Department.

Please contact the Health Office of your child’s school (inclusive of in-person, hybrid, remote instructional setting) with questions.

Thank you for your continued attention and support of the health parameters in our communities and schools.

Be Well!
Your Nurses

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (September 29, 2020)

Dear Families,

It has been a pleasure to welcome your children back to school! Whether your child is learning in person or remotely, we hope you are all settling into the new routine.

District nurses are beginning to see an increased number of students with signs and symptoms of illness.  We would like to bring you up-to-date on our protocol during those circumstances. If your child presents to the nurse with symptoms of COVID-19, you will be contacted to pick your child up from school and bring them to their healthcare provider for evaluation.

As a reminder, per the CDC, COVID – 19 symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Fever 100.0 F or greater/ 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

Per New York State Department of Health, if your child is referred to a healthcare provider for symptoms of COVID-19, three things are required for your child to return to school.

  1. Documentation from the healthcare provider following evaluation;
  2. A COVID-19 negative test result; and
  3. Symptom resolution:  fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications and feeling well.

These requirements not only apply to those children who are sent home from school, but also to those children who are absent from school due to COVID-19 symptoms.

NOTE: Saliva based testing is available for school aged children with symptoms at NBT Bank Stadium Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  All tests require registration by calling the Upstate Medical COVID Hotline at 315-464-2582 and selecting option #4.

Nasal swab testing is available at:

Upstate Golisano After Hours Care at Community
Monday-Friday:  4:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
No appointment needed

Syracuse Community Health Center – (drive through or walk up)
819 S. Salina St.
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (closed 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. for lunch)
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
No appointment needed

Upstate Medical Center (drive through)
800 E. Water St.
Call to schedule appointment – 315-464-2582 option 0
Testing only for those with symptoms of illness

WellNow Urgent Care
3504 West Genesee St.
No appointment needed
Call for wait time/information

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your child.

Be Well!
Your Nurses

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (September 4, 2020)

Dear Families,
We hope all is well and you are enjoying these last summer days together before school begins next week!

We would like to draw your attention today to a topic of interest for those of you who have children with chronic health conditions. After consultation with our Medical Director, we are asking parents and caregivers to provide updated letters from their child’s Health Care Provider that may help clarify chronic health conditions and any corresponding symptoms.

An updated letter, dated on or after May 1, 2020, will help the school District staff should the need arise to evaluate symptoms from a chronic health condition, that are also listed as symptoms of COVID-19. New York State and Onondaga County have encouraged this request in order to help nurses and medical staff expedite evaluation and decision making should a student develop symptoms during the school day.

We realize information is rapidly changing during this pandemic. We continue to review and update the many safety protocols that have been implemented to allow a safe and successful start to the school year.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your child.

Be Well!
Your Nurses

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (August 18, 2020)

Dear Families,

We hope you are making the most of our beautiful weather and are continuing to enjoy your favorite summer activities together. As September approaches, it is time to turn our attention to the start of the new school year.

In thinking about your child’s health and safety, we would like to remind you of those things that will be familiar to you.

Physical Exam and Immunization Requirements

Physical exam and immunization requirements remain in effect and are specific to your child’s grade level. Physical exams are required for all students entering grade K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 and all students new to the district. Any physical exam done within one year prior to the first day of school will meet this requirement. If your student is entering grade K, 6, 7, 9 or 12, he/she will have specific immunizations due within 14 days of the start of the school year. These requirements apply to those students taking part in virtual as well as in person instruction.

Click here to read the latest health requirements as posted on the West Genesee website.

Medications at School

If your child requires medication at school, it must be delivered to the health office by a parent/guardian or responsible adult. Prescription medication must be in a container properly labeled from the pharmacy. Over the counter medication must be in the original container.

ALL medications require a written order from the physician and a written request from the parent/guardian to your school nurse to administer the medication as prescribed. Your school nurse will be scheduling times for medications to be delivered to school in the days ahead.

Different this Year…

For the health and safety of students, staff members, and families, there will be a number of things that will look different this year.  Your child will notice a focus on:

  • hand washing
  • keeping a physical distance of 6 feet
  • wearing a cloth face covering and
  • keeping our groups small.

Chances are, you have been practicing these things at home and/or when you go out in public. We encourage you to continue to practice and to let your child know that these same steps will be taken at school.

Stop the Spread of Germs Image

Cloth Coverings

Please practice with your family, the following important steps for safely wearing a cloth face covering.

  1. Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
  2. Put the face covering over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  3. Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
  4. Once in place, don’t touch the face covering, and if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
  5. Touch only the ear loops or ties when removing the face covering. Once removed, wash your hands.
  6. Cloth face coverings should be cleaned daily and can be placed in the washer and dryer.
  7. Face coverings are for individual use only and should not be shared.
Mask Covering Info
Fact sheet for young people on how to put on and take off a face covering.

Please email us with any questions you may have regarding this or any information related to your child’s health and wellbeing. We are here for you always, and we are all -stronger together!

Be Well!
Your Nurses

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (June 9, 2020)

Dear Families,

With the emphasis given to COVID-19 in the last few months, you may be wondering if local doctors are scheduling well child exams. In fact they are, and with summer approaching and schedules loosening up, we encourage you to take advantage of this time to schedule a visit.

As a reminder, those students entering grades K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 as well as students new to the district, are required to have a physical exam. Any exam within one year prior to the first day of school will fulfill the requirement. Physical exam forms can be found on the West Genesee website Health Services page.

A well child exam is an ideal time to ask questions and express any concerns you may be having with your child’s doctor. In addition, this is the time for your child to receive their age appropriate vaccinations. While your child’s doctor will be aware of the requirements, we have included the schedule below for your information.

Vaccine Requirements – Kindergarten:

Diphtheria/ Tetanus/ Pertussis (DTaP) – 5 doses or 4 doses if the 4th dose was received at age 4 or older.

Polio – 4 doses or 3 doses if the 3rd dose was received at age 4 or older

Hepatitis B – 3 doses

Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) – 2 doses

Varicella (Chickenpox) – 2 doses

If your child has had chickenpox disease, verification of the disease is required including: blood test that proves immunity or documentation of the disease from your health care provider.

Additional Requirements

Sixth Grade: Tetanus/Diphtheria/ Pertussis vaccine (Tdap) – All 6th grade students, 11 years old by the first day of school in the fall, must have a Tdap vaccine. If the student is 10 years old upon entry into the 6th grade, he/she must receive the Tdap vaccine upon turning 11 years old.

Seventh Grade: Meningococcal vaccine – Students entering the 7th grade must have 1 dose of Meningococcal vaccine.

Twelfth Grade: Meningococcal vaccine – Students entering the 12th grade must have 2 doses of Meningococcal vaccine OR 1 dose if the dose was received at age 16 or older.

We hope you will find this information helpful. Please know that we are available always, to discuss your questions and concerns. We encourage you to contact us via email if we can be of assistance in any way.

Be Well!
Your Nurses

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (May 21, 2020)

Dear Families,

As the time away from classmates and friends has changed from days, to weeks and months, local doctors have seen a decrease in the typical childhood illnesses. Instead, questions from concerned parents related to anxiety and sleep issues are on the rise. This is completely understandable, as children face uncertainty and fear related to the Coronavirus.

Here are some suggestions from the National Childhood Trauma Network that we can use when helping our children work through their feelings. As you read them, remind yourself that some days will be better than others and we are all doing, the best that we can.

  1. BE CALM AND POSITIVE.  This is sometimes hard to do especially if we are feeling anxious.  Try to remember that our kids pick up signals of adult feelings which in turn affects how they feel and react.
  2. REASSURE CHILDREN.  Remind them that most people who get Coronavirus will not get severely sick, especially children. Remind them also, that the changes we are facing are temporary, to keep people safe. Lastly, let them know that you are confident your family will get through this!
  3. SHOW UNDERSTANDING FOR DISAPPOINTMENTS.  Our younger children are missing playdates and perhaps planned summer vacations. Our older kids might be missing sports, proms and graduations. We should expect more moodiness in response to these stressors and allow our kids to express what they are feeling.
  4. POINT OUT THE GOOD THINGS.  We can remind our children that the things we are doing now are helping each other stay healthy and safe. We can recognize and praise them for doing their part in this, when they are washing their hands and staying at home or wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance if they must go out in public.
  5. TALK ABOUT ACTS OF KINDNESS.  It’s easy to find examples of this in our community! Neighbors are checking on neighbors, people are providing food for those that need it, children are writing letters and chalk messages on driveways! We can listen to and help our kids with their ideas for reaching out in kindness while maintaining their safety.
  6. ADDRESS MONEY ISSUES.  It’s important for us to be as open as possible with our kids if we need to make adjustments to spending. It might be helpful to discuss our plans in a family meeting. This will be a good time for us to listen and express our understanding of possible disappointments.

Although we remain apart during this time, know that we are here for you always!  Please email us with any questions, concerns or needs that you have in the days ahead.

Stay Safe and Be Well!

Your Nurses

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (May 12, 2020)

Dear Families,
We hope this note finds you and your children staying safe and feeling healthy! It seems that we are always learning, things about the Coronavirus that we didn’t know before. While that can be frustrating and even frightening, that knowledge is our best defense. Armed with the facts as we know them, we will have what we need to protect ourselves and our loved ones!

We would like to call your attention to a rare but dangerous illness known as Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. This illness is affecting children of all age groups: infants, young children and teenagers alike and is possibly linked with the Coronavirus. It has been found that children affected by this syndrome have previously been infected with the Coronavirus, experiencing few if any symptoms during that time. The syndrome seems to be a post exposure inflammatory response by the body’s immune system. While a large percentage of children hospitalized with the illness have underlying health conditions, it is important for all of us to know the signs and symptoms.

Please be watchful and seek immediate medical care if your child has:

  • Prolonged fever
  • Rash and/or change in skin color
  • Swelling/Fluid Retention
  • Red eye irritation
  • Stomach illness
  • Decreased urination

As our weather improves and we venture outside to enjoy it, let us all renew our efforts to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Remember the things we know will help us: handwashing, staying at home as much as possible, wearing a mask and staying at least 6 feet apart if we must go out in public.

Although we remain apart for now, know that we are always here for you.

Please feel free to email us with your questions, concerns or needs in the days ahead.

Be Well!
Your Nurses

Video Message from the West Genesee Nurses to Families (April 27, 2020)

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (April 2, 2020)

Dear Families,

We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy! We miss you all and you are in our thoughts daily.

As we all strive to make choices that will preserve our health, let us remember that keeping our lungs healthy is of particular importance. With that in mind, we would like to present important things to know about the use of e-cigarettes or vaping.

According to Dr. Humberto Choi, a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, the number of teens who are vaping has far surpassed that of teens who are smoking cigarettes. E-cigarettes are easy to hide devices that produce a pleasant odor which fades quickly. As with cigarette smoking, vaping can also compromise the respiratory system. This means that people who smoke or vape are more susceptible to lung infections.

The ingredients in vaping liquids, especially in flavored electronic cigarettes can affect cell function in the airways and suppress the lungs’ ability to fight infection. Per Dr. Choi, “This increases the chances of having a respiratory infection which is extremely important to keep in mind, especially now when we are still facing flu season; and now that we are in the middle of a Coronavirus pandemic.”

This is an opportune time for families to have an open conversation about vaping. Even if your child isn’t vaping, chances are they know someone who is and will be offered a chance to try it.

Talk together about the dangers of vaping and try to understand the factors that might motivate a person to try it such as peer pressure, stress or wanting to look more grown up. Clear up any misconceptions and talk through good ways to respond if your child ever feels pressured to try it. If you are still concerned, it is reasonable to discuss this, or any topic with your child’s doctor at the next appointment.

Please remember that we are here to help as always. Feel free to contact us via email with your questions or concerns in the days ahead. We will be happy to respond.

Be Safe and Healthy!

Your Nurses

Note from West Genesee Nurses to Families (March 20, 2020)

As your school nurses, we are always concerned with the health of our students and their families. We understand that this school closure is stressful and can cause anxious feelings in everyone. We want you to know that although we are not in our school buildings, we are still here for you.

There has been much in the media about how to stop the spread of Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19. We know that you are doing your part by staying home and keeping your children home with you. It’s okay to go outside! Please remember that even time outside, should be shared and enjoyed, with family members only.

Once again, please know that we are here for you. If you have a question, concern, or just need some reassurance for your child, please email us. We too are home with our families, but we will have access to our email and will be more than happy to respond.


Your Nurses

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