HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Schools across North Alabama are now relying heavily on contact tracing to keep students safe and monitor COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Karen Landers from the Alabama Department of Public Health says its important to understand who is in charge of what.
For example, the ADPH is responsible for administering contact tracing and the schools are responsible for helping make that process easier.
Landers says every school has been asked to report cases immediately, keep defined seating charts and monitor where students are at all times.
Landers also says it’s important to know the difference between a case and a contact. A case is a person who has a positive test and a contact is a person who spends 15 minutes or more and 6 feet or less in proximity to the case.
From there, the ADPH will work with the school to determine what classroom or classrooms the case has been in.
Landers says no personal information about the case is given away but the case would be put in home isolation for 10 days.
The contacts would be home quarantined for 14 days from the last interaction with the case.
There will be situations where contacts are not identified and Landers says that’s why preventative measures are so important.
“It’s really a matter of the schools working with us to identify who is involved with interaction with that student or teacher in order for us to determine who the contacts are,” Landers said. “And I really think it is extremely important for people to understand that not every person is a contact to a case just because you know that person or you passed that person in the hall.”
Landers says the biggest challenge for the ADPH is staffing to conduct contact tracing. They are currently working to hire additional members.