With the increase in COVID-19 cases, many health departments now rely on schools to contact trace

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Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 7:13 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Several health departments are overwhelmed with the influx of COVID cases, therefore they have to call on schools for additional help.

Schools like Jenkins Independent are responsible for contact tracing when a student becomes positive. Rondall Baker, Assistant Superintendent at Jenkins Independent, said enforcing seating charts for every class has been a crucial part of the contact tracing process:

“Yeah, uh, you’d have to quarantine entire classes without it, so it definitely helps.”

Not only have several schools within the Kentucky River District been able to utilize seating charts, but they’ve been able to take other measures in their contact tracing protocols:

“Each school has a ‘Healthy at School’ officer,” said Scott Lockard, Public Health Director for the Kentucky River District. “With these Healthy at School officers, they provide guidance to their staff there and when they identify a positive case, then they will go about identifying everyone this case has had contact with.”

Lockard adds although he wants children to stay in school, he said it’s better to be safe than sorry when deciding which students should quarantine:

“So I always try to air on the side of caution when contact tracing,” said Lockard. “When in doubt, put them out.”

Lockard continues to say that even though contact tracing is an important part of keeping students safe, he urges those who are eligible for the vaccine to get it - not only to protect yourself against COVID but to protect those around you.

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