Schenectady Co. health officials tackle COVID misinformation, talk 2021-2022 school year

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Members of the County Council joining over video chat participate in the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of a council meeting at the St. Louis County Council Chambers in Clayton, Mo., Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. Public forums before local school boards and city councils are the latest source of misinformation about COVID-19. (Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Schenectady County health officials were on hand Wednesday to answer questions and clear up misconceptions about COVID or the vaccines.

A group of approximately 20 people including Interim Public Health Director Keith Brown and Holly Acevedo, a Schenectady County nurse attended the webinar, with health officials answering questions about COVID testing, vaccines, booster shots, and health protocols in school.

The webinar gave NEWS10 the opportunity to ask the county about COVID exposure in schools and what it means for students who will have to quarantine.

It’s expected that masks will be mandated in schools across New York. On Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul said she was working with the Department of Health to put together guidelines for schools that will include vaccinations for teachers and weekly testing in addition to masks.

With school weeks away, many districts have finalized plans for the 2021-2022 school year. If there is a mask mandate in schools, it won’t change anything for Schenectady School District. They have already announced that masks will be required by everyone in school buildings and on buses.

Parents and caregivers had little to no information on what the next school year would look like, up until a few weeks ago when the New York State Department of Education released its guidance for schools with shortly over a month to go before kids were expected to be back in the classroom.

National reports suggest there could be a number of COVID cases once school resumes. Brown said the Schenectady County Department of Health is working with the Schenectady School District to build a plan for quarantining based on the level of exposure.

The plan is still being finalized but Brown said it will be similar to last year. He underscored the importance of seating charts, something the district said it will do come September, to assess the need for quarantining based on proximity. How to notify families about a low risk of COVID exposure is still being worked out, said Brown.

Brown said students who are vaccinated will not be required to quarantine after exposure unless they are showing symptoms or there are other factors like multiple family members testing positive.

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