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Oneida County COVID-19 Test to Stay Protocol for New York Mills UFSD


Test to Stay (TTS) is a modified, test-based protocol for asymptomatic K-12 students and faculty and staff who are issued a quarantine order. TTS allows eligible quarantined individuals to attend in-school instruction if they receive a negative COVID-19 viral test (e.g. rapid antigen, PCR) at three different times for the first seven days of the quarantine period.  When not participating in in-school instruction, quarantined individuals must remain at the location specified in their quarantine order. If no other close contact exposures are identified, individuals are released from quarantine upon successful competition of the protocol.

Individual Eligibility:

To participate in the TTS protocol, the individual must have been issued a quarantine order from Oneida County Health Department (OCHD) and the following criteria must be met.

  • The District agrees that the Test to Stay protocols are appropriate for the student or staff member.
  • The individual’s close contact exposure(s) must have occurred during instruction at school or during bus transportation to or from school.[1] Individuals whose close contact exposure(s) occurred outside of school or bus transportation to or from school are not eligible.  Individuals with household exposures (e.g., siblings, parents) are not eligible. 
  • The infected individual and the individual exposed through close contact must have consistently and correctly worn well-fitting masks during the close contact exposure(s).
  • The TTS participant must not have or develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 at any time since their close contact exposure(s).
    • Parents of participating students whose household contacts have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should not send their child to school and instead contact the school nurse. In that event, those participating students will no longer participate in the TTS protocols.  
  • Correctly wear well-fitting masks in school at all times, other than when eating or drinking. When these individuals cannot be masked, they must maintain 6 feet of distance from other individuals. Students will be assigned a different location for breakfast and/or lunch.
  • Closely adhere to all COVID-19 mitigations measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that have been adopted by the school.
  • The exposed person must be tested a minimum of three times (however, NY Mills may opt to test more frequently) during the seven days following the exposure, unless the recognition of the exposure is delayed or weekends and/or school breaks intervene. The seven-day period is measured in calendar days where the last date of exposure is considered day zero. The first test should be done as soon as possible after exposure is identified (the first day the student is in school following the identified exposure). The first test will be on day 0 or 1, second test on day 2, 3, or 4, and the third test on day 5, 6, or 7. Parents will be asked to transport their children to school for the testing the morning of the test.

A parent or guardian must remain at school until the TTS results are known. If the student test is positive, the Oneida County Health Department will be notified, and the student must return home with the parent or guardian. Students who test negative will be allowed to take the bus home from school. Students will be allowed to take a bus to school each morning until the morning of the next scheduled test. A schedule of the testing days will be provided on the first day of testing. The individual may submit a negative test from a healthcare provider in lieu of testing at school. On days when school instruction is not taking place, testing is not required.  Once the individual is released from quarantine, testing is no longer required.

  • If the individual’s qualifying close contact exposure becomes known during the school day, the child must receive a negative viral test result before departing on a school bus.
  • The TTS participant or parent/guardian must agree to do the following for the individual to be eligible.
    • Agree to transport the child(ren) to school each day of testing. Students who currently walk to school may continue to do so, but must be able to return home if the test is positive for COVID-19.
    • Conduct active monitoring (explicitly asking the individual about signs and symptoms of COVID-19) each day before and after school, including daily temperature checks.
    • Immediately contact their healthcare provider and OCHD at 315-798-5431 if any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 develop. In addition, immediately contact the NY Mills school nurse at 315-768-3391.
    • Refrain from attending school if any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 develop in the individual or anyone in the home.
    • If the participating individual tests positive or develops signs or symptoms of COVID-19 during school instruction they must leave school immediately.
  • Not be associated with a COVID-19 cluster or outbreak, as determined by OCHD.

Participants are not required to receive their test at school, however, the test must be administered by a healthcare professional.  The test documentation from the healthcare professional must include the brand name of the test, name of the individual tested and their date of birth, the date the specimen was collected, type of test, and the result.

Frequently Asked Questions

When individuals are participating in the Test to Stay protocol, do they have to wear masks when outdoors?

Yes. Other than individuals with a medical exemption, individuals who are participating in the protocol must always wear masks, unless they are eating or drinking, including when outdoors.

For the Test to Stay protocol, is there a specific time of day that the tests need to occur?

The tests must be administered prior to the individual attending class.

Is the Test to Stay protocol available to both students and staff?

Yes, TTS is available to students and staff.

Can individuals who test negative attend or participate in extracurricular activities?

Individuals can participate in most after-school extracurricular activities at school except sports. Individuals may not participate in sports or similar activities in the community until they are released from their modified quarantine. Individuals participating in the program must return to the location specified in their quarantine order after the end of the instructional school day.  Students will not be allowed to participate in the “Y Afterschool Program” during the testing period.

Do schools need permission to test individual(s) for COVID-19?

Yes.  Before a COVID-19 test is administered to an individual, the school must get written permission from the participant or parent/guardian.

Can individual(s) who are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19 infection participate in TTS?

Since in general, these individual s would not be issued a quarantine order from OCHD, they would not need to participate in TTS to attend school

How long will the TTS last?

The evaluation team will review the effectiveness, feasibility, and scalability of the protocol.   This information will used to make recommendations as to whether the program should be amended, expanded to other school districts/private schools and/or be withdrawn.

Are there enough tests for the TTS protocol period?

There is currently a national shortage of rapid tests. If the District does not have, or cannot receive, enough tests, the TTS program will be suspended. If the District does not have enough tests, a negative test on the days identified for testing from a healthcare worker will be accepted and the student will follow the TTS program as outlined above. Otherwise the quarantine and/or isolation procedure would revert back to those defined by the Oneida County Department of Health.

[1] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria for being fully vaccinated are available at