Archived COVID Information


Isolation is used for individuals who are infected with COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms.

Isolation is separating people who have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 from those who are not infected. This helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. Isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.


Precaution is used for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 through close contact.

Precaution If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 or have been told by a healthcare provider or public health authority that you were exposed, here are the steps that you should take, regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and the factors that make risk of spread higher or lower.

Black back to school instagram post

Most Recent School Based Testing Report

Essex County Health Department, BOCES leaders, and area school superintendents met during the summer to plan for the 2022-2023 year and will continue meeting during the school year.  The goal of all meetings was to ensure maintenance of full in-person learning with fewer disruptions to learning, sports, activities, and home life

Essex County districts and this Department are in agreement about safe in-person learning and are committed to following the guidance given by the New York State Education Department (NYSED), CDC, NYSDOH and American Academy of Pediatrics.  These documents are available by clicking the links below.

2022-23 School Year Joint DOH-SED Letter to Schools NYSDOH

2022-23 School Year FAQs for Schools NYSDOH

2022-23 School Year FAQs for Parents and Caregivers NYSDOH

COVID-19 Guidance for Safer Schools, American Academy of Pediatrics.

What’s Changed? Updates as of September 9, 2022 from the CDC.

Please review the link in its entirety titled 2022-23 School Year FAQs for Schools NYSDOH above. 

  • Updates that provide clarity around isolation requirements
  • Addition to share information about reporting COVID-19 case information to local health departments

What’s Changed? Update as of August 11, 2022 from the CDC.

  • Removed the recommendation to cohort
  • Changed recommendation to conduct screening testing to focus on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak
  • Removed the recommendation to quarantine, except in high-risk congregate settings
  • Removed information about Test to Stay
  • Added detailed information on when to wear a mask, managing cases and exposures, and responding to outbreaks

3/1/2022 - New Masking Guidance Update - Supplemental Guidance to Interim Guidance for classroom instruction P-12 schools during the 2021-2022 academic year; NYSDOH

3/1/2022 - School Masking and Testing Guidance: FAQs for Schools, NYSDOH



Eligible?  Please get vaccinated.  It’s the best way to safely get students to full in-person learning and activities. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine currently approved for children ages 5 through 17 years old. Children and teens need two doses of a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Everyone ages 12 years and older should also get a booster shot. More information is available here.


Districts will meet with Essex County weekly to stay on top of our local risk. 


March 2022 - Universal masking in NY schools was lifted. More information is available here. Districts are requiring universal masking for all indoor areas.  This means everyone, regardless of vaccination status, is masking.  This includes all indoor areas - classrooms, hallways, and buses. 


Schools are making efforts to keep a 6’ distance between people in school, whenever possible.  This prevents students from being close contacts of anyone that becomes sick.


Districts are following the same school-day policies and procedures for athletic and extracurricular activities.


Please do a health check at home. Do not send a sick child to school.  Do reach out to arrange for COVID testing.  We now have a free school-based testing option!


Districts will be offering free screening testing to unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students following CDC’s recommendations.  Testing is done at school with results in 24-48 hours!  


Free rapid testing will be available for faculty, staff, and students who have COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is done at school with results available in 15 minutes! Click here to watch a short video about this test or visit


Following new guidance, any student/staff that tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate for at least 5 days from the date of first symptoms/test date and should wear a well fitting mask on days 6-10.

Students/staff that have been identified as close contacts should consider wearing a wearing mask for 10 days following exposure.


This 3-Part Testing Plan is part of a layered approach to stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

Parent/Guardian consent is needed for all aspects of this School-Based Testing Plan.


We will be on site of schools to conduct Screening Testing following the CDC’s Level of Transmission in Essex County for any given week. Parents/guardian consent is needed through an online parent portal.  The Test, called Clarifi COVID-19 Test is a very easy oral swab and results are available in 24-48 hours.  The test is being conducted by Quadrant Lab at Upstate Medical. Schools are asked to support testing by identifying eligible people for screening testing, securing consent, and providing space & a school liaison for testing.

Table: Screening Testing Plan for K-12 Schools by Level of Community Transmission; Source CDC

Part 2: Symptomatic Testing for Sick Student/Faculty/Staff at School

We will provide on-site testing supplies for use by school nurses or other trained staff at the school.  This allows any sick student, faculty or staff member to be easily tested right at school by your trusted school nurse and get results immediately.  It removes access to testing barriers like making appointments or slow turn-around time waiting for results.  It allows for isolation of COVID cases quickly and returns all others to the school community quickly and safely.  The Test, called Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 Test is a very easy nasal swab and results are available in 15 minutes. 

Part 3: Exposure-Based Screening Testing for Sick Student/Faculty/Staff at School

Another test, called the Abbott Binax Now, is also a very easy nasal swab and results are available in 15 minutes.  ECHD will offer this exposure-based screening option for vaccinated and unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff following an exposure to a positive case during high-risk school-based activities. These activities can include close contact and/or indoor sports, band, choir, theater, and indoor school clubs. This exposure-based screening testing is considered when including exposed individuals in the screening testing option (Part 1) is not possible at 3-5 days following exposure.  Schools are asked to support ECHD by identifying the person/s who will be trained to use the testing supplies and work with the health department for reporting and response (contact tracing) efforts.