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Silver Creek prepares for COVID zones

SILVER CREEK — In a Facebook Live broadcast this month, Silver Creek Superintendent Todd Crandall, school nurse Jennifer Johnson, and school medical provider Dr. Steven Barnes, announced the plan for testing if state Gov. Andrew Cuomo moves Silver Creek and the surrounding area into a yellow, orange or red zone, based on the severity of COVID-19 in the area.

If Silver Creek does move into one of the colored zones, a certain percentage of students and staff have to be tested for COVID-19. If it’s a yellow zone, 20 percent of total students and staff have to be tested within two weeks of moving into the yellow zone, and the result has to be less than the regional seven day COVID average. If the area is moved to an orange zone, the same percentage of students and staff must be tested, but now they must be tested monthly on a rotating basis. Should Silver Creek be moved to a red zone, rotating monthly testing moves to 30 percent of students and staff.

“In preparation that testing may be required, our School District is seeking consent from all individuals that come to campus to be tested for COVID-19,” Crandall said.

One possible fear of testing people may have that Crandall alleviated is that parents are allowed to go with their students for testing. Silver Creek will be administering the rapid Abbottt Binox test, which is a q-tip swab into the nasal passage, and students will know the results within 15 minutes. The school nurses will be responsible for administering the tests, which will take place in the elementary gym. Should a positive test come back, the person who tests positive will be isolated in the nurse’s office and, following contract tracing, the person will be sent home. Crandall stressed that the school is not holding tests yet, as there is currently no zone restriction, but will be ready to enact their plan should Silver Creek’s status change.

While Crandall doesn’t know the Governor’s plans exactly, moving into one of the zones is something Crandall can foresee happening based on the positivity rate of COVID-19 in the area. The school also shared on Thursday that each school district within Chautauqua County is working for their campus to host sites for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and education workers can receive the vaccine in Phase 1b, which is the next phase of vaccination rollouts. Students won’t be eligible for the vaccine until Level 3, which is the same phase as the rest of the general public.

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