news 2 days ago

State unveils COVID-19 school report card database

The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y. — The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y.

Sept. 16-- Sep. 16--New York State's public dashboard to track COVID-19 cases in the schools is up and running, but it has encountered some growing pains.

Private schools and charter schools were not included in the dashboard as of Tuesday evening.

There's a lag between the time a person tests positive and when that information becomes public on the dashboard.

And some districts have decided to no longer notify families directly when someone in a school building tests positive, because that information will now become accessible through the dashboard, at schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov.

"That's how we're going to report it to parents, instead of sending letters home," said Michael LaFever, superintendent of schools in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

That will take some of the burden off of principals, he said.

"They have a million things to do," LaFever added. "They're a one-person shop."

Across New York State, 120 school districts have told the state about positive COVID-19 tests, Health Department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said Tuesday.

When a school learns that a student or staff member has tested positive, the school is required to contact the county.

Health Departments conduct contact tracing to determine who has been exposed. If the person who tests positive has been in a school during the period when they were infected, the county contacts the school to identify individuals who may have been exposed.

It is then the school's responsibility to report the information to the state's dashboard.

There is a delay between someone in a school testing positive and that information appearing on the website.

So far, two cases have been reported at Queensbury Elementary School, which are both shown in the COVID-19 school report card and two cases related to Greenwich Central School.

As of late Tuesday, just one positive case is shown in the COVID-19 school report card for Greenwich Central School District.

The state Health Department has been collecting data from public schools since Sept. 8 and from private schools since Sept. 14, Hammond said.

He said data from the private schools will soon show up on the dashboard, which is updated daily.

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