To: Parents/Guardians, Teachers, and Staff of Pocantico Hills
Date: September 17, 2021
From: Richard N. Calkins – Superintendent, Pocantico Hills Central School District
Dear Pocantico Educational Community,
The start of the school year is upon us! As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Westchester County and its schools are committed to a safe return to in-person learning for students, teachers, and staff.
This can only be achieved if the County, public and private school systems, parents, and students work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools and keep one another safe. This is especially important given the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant.
As part of this effort, Pocantico is pleased to announce that we, along with schools across Westchester County, will be partnering with Westchester County Department of Health’s testing partner Mirimus, Inc., to offer the County’s FREE COVID-19 screening testing program.
The program relies on two testing strategies:
- Initial testing: Voluntary testing of all students, teachers, and staff
- Thereafter: Voluntary weekly testing of 20% of all students, teachers, and staff
This method will allow early detection of COVID-19 in pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic individuals. Early detection means we can better stop the virus from spreading in schools. Preventing school outbreaks is key to ensuring our schools stay open to provide the education and support our children need.
***All unvaccinated staff members will be tested on a weekly basis***
All students, teachers, and staff are highly encouraged to participate in this free, school-based COVID-19 screening testing program. The program will use non-invasive, self-collected saliva samples that are appropriate and painless for all ages. Samples will be processed using accurate and reliable PCR analysis—the gold standard of COIVD-19 testing— to identify positive cases.
Please read and complete the attached consent and authorization forms (click here to fill out the forms electronically) for each student in your household (or for yourself, if you are teacher/staff). In order to participate, we encourage you to consent as soon as possible as we would like to begin this testing process very soon. You can consent at any point for enrollment in the weekly 20% screening testing program. Once you consent, Pocantico will be in touch with more details regarding the testing program. Please know that no confidential information is shared with any outside parties.
Richard N. Calkins