Herkimer County Health Department last night shared updated Covid guidance for schools, on the county government Facebook page. This part has school leaders particularly concerned:
“The largest change to procedure is that Herkimer County Public Health will no longer be the chief organizing entity in contact tracing for COVID-19 cases.”
“They’re not doing state or county contact tracing," says Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent, Sandra Sherwood. “There's just no way it's not gonna spike in our buildings."
The school district is still contact tracing for their cases. But it's not their cases they're worried about.
“If a student or staff member is Covid positive, we do contact tracing for that exposure, but 70-80% of the exposures that we've dealt with previously are from exterior Covid cases, not inside our walls. Not staff or students, it's family members, so, that's all gone now. We won't be notified when a family member has Covid," says Sherwood.
The BOCES District Superintendent will meet tomorrow with her 10 component districts and county public health officials to clarify the latest guidance...and share their concerns.
“This is a huge concern of how are we going to try to keep people safe when we won't have the same level of information about who should be excluded. Who should be outside of our walls for this given window of time. We don't have that information anymore,” says Sherwood. “I don’t know how we're gonna keep our kids safe and our schools open."