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Microcluster Testing Requirements

December 15, 2020

Dear Longwood School Community,

This year has presented challenges like none other, and we continue to do all we can to remain open for in-person learning.

As part of Governor Cuomo's Microcluster Action Initiative to identify COVID-19 clusters into color-coded zones with levels of restrictions based on severity: Red Zones, Orange Zones, and Yellow Zones, we must be prepared to test a certain percentage of our in-person students and staff depending on the designated zone.

Last week, we sent our families a registration form to allow their children to be tested for COVID-19 should we be designated in a microcluster zone. 

We received a great response, and we are so grateful to the more than 365 parents who have signed their children up to be tested. Unfortunately, we have not yet met our goal of 800 registrations. If we do not meet the threshold, students in the designated area must transition to full-time distance learning until we can meet the State guidelines to continue in-person instruction.

Data suggests that students are safer in school than not. However, if our numbers increase and the Governor designates us as a microcluster zone, we must begin testing to remain open. Testing will be conducted by trained healthcare professionals who will administer the BinaxNow rapid testing kits, which do not require swabbing high into the nasal canal, rather a gentle swab around the lower portion of the nostril. 

Click this link to access the voluntary LongwoodCSD Registration Form for COVID-19 testing.

Additionally, we have included a list of questions and answers about the testing and microcluster strategy.


I know we are all suffering COVID fatigue, but we need to work collaboratively to get through these tough times. We can do this! 

Sincerely,
Dr. Michael R. Lonergan
Superintendent of Schools


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December 9, 2020


Dear Longwood School Community,

Recently, Governor Cuomo implemented the Microcluster Zone Action Initiative to identify COVID-19 clusters into color-coded zones with levels of restrictions based on severity: Red Zones, Orange Zones, and Yellow Zones. Click this link for information about the New York State Microcluster Zone Action initiative. 

Yellow zones have been established due to sustained increases in new positive cases and hospitalizations. If schools are designated in a yellow zone, they are mandated to test 20 percent of in-person students and staff combined within a two-week period, to remain open.  Currently, no schools in the Longwood School District have been designated a yellow zone.

In preparation for a yellow zone designation and for our district to carry out COVID-19 testing to remain open for in-person instruction, we ask you to  fill out the voluntary Longwood CSD Registration for COVID-19 testing form IF YOU CONSENT for your child to participate in the testing. Please note, if you do not consent to have your child tested, please do not take the survey and no additional action is necessary.  Testing will only be conducted if we are designated a yellow zone.  

Testing will be conducted by trained healthcare professionals who will administer the BinaxNow rapid testing kits, which do not require swabbing high into the nasal canal, only a swab around the lower portion of the nostril. 

Additionally, we have included a list of questions and answers about the testing and microcluster strategy.

If you have any questions or concerns about the yellow zone testing, please email COVIDQuestions@longwoodcsd.org.

Thank you for your continued partnership and support as we work to keep our students, staff and families safe during the pandemic, as well as keep our schools open for in-person instruction.

Sincerely,
Dr. Michael R. Lonergan
Superintendent of Schools




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December 7, 2020

Dear Longwood School Community, 

I am writing to share some important information about the increase in COVID-19‌ ‌infection‌ ‌rates‌ throughout‌ New York State ‌and‌ ‌across‌ ‌the‌ ‌nation‌.‌ ‌ 

As the infection rate in Suffolk County continues to rise, we are committed to doing our part to support the efforts of the County Executive and Governor Cuomo to reduce the rates of infection.  This is the only way to keep our schools open and our students in their classrooms is if we all do our part.

To reduce the transmission of COVID-19, Governor Cuomo has implemented a Micro-Cluster Zone Action Initiative that identifies clusters and categorizes them into one or more color-coded zones with levels of restrictions based on severity: Red Zones, Orange Zones, and Yellow Zones. Further information about Governor Cuomo’s micro-cluster‌ ‌initiative‌ is available ‌here‌. ‌ ‌ 

Several Long Island communities have been identified as yellow zones where additional restrictions were required to avoid the more severe orange and red zones. Schools designated in a yellow zone must test 20 percent of in-person students and staff, within a two-week period, to remain open. If results show that the percentage of positives is lower than the yellow zone’s current rate, schools can remain open without additional testing. If testing shows that results are higher than the yellow zone rate, schools may remain open, but additional testing will be required. To date, schools in yellow zones have found that the percentage of positive results is significantly lower than the area average - further evidence that our schools are safe.

Longwood has not been designated a yellow zone, but we do want to be prepared. This week, you will receive a Willingness to Test survey along with a Digital Consent to Test form. These two documents will provide us with your VOLUNTARY consent to test your child if we are designated a yellow zone.  Through your participation and with the support of our community, we will continue to safely keep our schools open for in-person instruction. 

To meet the state guidelines, a combined 1,600 students and staff will need to be tested to meet the 20 percent threshold.  Trained healthcare professionals will administer the BinaxNow rapid testing kits which do not require swabbing high into the nasal canal, only a swab around the lower portion of the nostril. 

If you should have specific medical concerns about your child’s participation, please reach out directly to your child’s physician or your school nurse.  Additional information, as well as a list of frequently asked questions, will be available shortly. 

We know that Longwood is a strong, wonderful community that will do what is needed to keep our students and staff safe.  I thank you for your continued support and patience as we work through this challenging time.  

Respectfully, ‌
Dr. Michael R. Lonergan
Superintendent of Schools

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