An important message from Dr. L. Oliver Robinson | Putting COVID in the rearview mirror

Written by on March 12, 2021

Dear Shen Community,

One year ago, we were faced with a choice: chaos or creativity. I am proud to write to you today and say that not only did Shenendehowa choose creativity, we thrived through the COVID pandemic as a result of creative work–collectively and collaboratively–ensuring the safety of students and school personnel, while educating our students in-person and virtually (CVL). We never lost sight of our North star, of our Commitment to Excellence. Now, we are equally committed to put COVID in the rearview mirror.

Please take a moment and watch this video, an expression of  my tremendous gratitude to you and the offering of some insights to the road ahead.

NEW CHANGES TO TRAVEL QUARANTINE

On March 11, 2021, New York announced that quarantine would no longer be required for any domestic travel entering the state as of April 1, 2021. Travelers must continue to fill out the traveler health form. Further, all individuals returning from travel must monitor for symptoms for 14 days after their return and immediately self-isolate if symptoms emerge. 

What About Between Now and April 1?

People will have to quarantine upon arriving in New York between now and April 1, but there are now two exemptions. To fit into one of these exemptions, an individual must be either be:

  1. Fully vaccinated, within three months of receiving the final dose of the vaccine, and remain asymptomatic; OR
  2. An asymptomatic individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past three months and has since recovered. The three-month period begins either on the date of symptom onset or the date of the first positive diagnostic test if the individual remains asymptomatic.

Between now and April 1, the remainder of the travel advisory remains unchanged. Domestic travelers from contiguous states (Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) do not need to quarantine. Travelers who are in a non-contiguous state for less than 24 hours do not need to quarantine or be tested but still must fill out the traveler health form. The essential worker exception remains unchanged. Finally, those subject to the travel quarantine may test out under the existing rules.

What About International Travel?

The domestic guidance has no impact on international travelers. All travelers must quarantine upon returning from international travel. This is a new rule. Travelers must quarantine for seven days, with a test three to five days after returning, or must quarantine the full 10 days without a test.

NEW QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS EXPOSED TO COVID-19
Consistent with recent CDC guidance, asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination, if the following criteria are met:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine); AND
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; AND
  • Have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure.

Individuals who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria and who have been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 14 days after exposure, or ten days if they meet the criteria for a reduced quarantine. Consistent with previous CDC guidance, there is no testing requirement to end the quarantine if no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. However, a test should be sought immediately if any symptoms develop during the 14 days after exposure.

Local Health Departments (LHDs) will continue to identify individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Contact tracing interviews will now include questions about vaccination status and dates. Individuals who meet the vaccination criteria listed above do not need to quarantine. In the coming week, we will be updating the Self-Certification Form to reflect the changes above. Please continue to follow proper COVID protocols of mask wearing, social distancing, and hand hygiene. 

Again, I am proud to be part of a team and resident of a community that stood up when faced with adversity, that chose to tackle each challenge with a vision to stay the course. If you have not done so already, please take a moment and watch this video, an expression of my tremendous gratitude to you and the offering of some insights to the road ahead. 

Committed to Excellence,

Dr. L. Oliver Robinson
Superintendent of Schools