It is a ‘back to school’ season like no other, and the tradition of heading back to school in the fall has taken on a whole new meaning this year. Technology has also begun to change the roles of teachers and has visibly affected education. As millions of students prepare to resume classes across the country, schools, universities, administrators, educators, and parents are facing serious questions about the risks to students and staff are returning amid rising COVID-19 cases.
What will happen if someone in the school tests positive for COVID-19 and what are schools doing to prevent the spread?
Here are some basic principles to keep students, teachers, and employees safe at school and stop the spread of this disease.
Recommendations for healthy schools are:
- Sick students, teachers and other staff should not come to school.
- Schools should enforce regular hand washing with water and soap.
- Schools should provide water, sanitation and waste management facilities.
- Schools should promote social distancing.
- Schools should implement a COVID -19 tracking system to securely monitor and track COVID 19 symptoms in students, educators or school staff.
What is a COVID-19 tracking system?
COVID-19 trackers are software applications for digitally tracking COVID 19 positivity, false alarms, return statuses and digital contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e., the process of identifying persons (“contacts”) who may have been in contact with an infected individual.
According to The World Health Organization (WHO), the objectives of COVID‐19 tracking systems include:
(a) monitor trends in the disease where human‐to‐human transmission occurs.
(b) rapidly detect new cases where the virus is not circulating.
(c) provide epidemiological information to conduct risk assessments
(d) provide epidemiological information to guide preparedness and response measures.
Features of COVID-19 Tracker that benefits the schools:
Digital form submission
The COVID-19 Tracking app enables school nurses to track symptoms of children in schools and allows the parents to submit symptom information as well as children’s COVID-19 exposure digitally. This eliminates the need for the school health authorities or school nurses to enter all the data manually, which can be confusing. This is also convenient for the school authorities as they can closely track COVID-19 exposure and are enabled to keep school environments safe.
Comprehensive symptom tracking
A comprehensive symptom tracker tracks symptoms of students and staff with a complete symptom checklist. It tracks statuses of members with COVID 19 positive results; manages confirmed case workflows, suspected cases and contact information; tracks false positives; automates status updates; and generates status change reminders.
Automatic emergency contact notifications
Notify parents or guardians if an emergency arises in a single button click on the COVID 19 Tracker. The caretakers can take the appropriate actions immediately. The notifications can be sent via email or call.
Single system to track COVID 19
Single system tracking COVID 19 enables schools to efficiently manage details and save time. Entering data at multiple sources can lead to confusion. A proper monitoring system should be maintained to ensure the correct flow of the events. COVID-19 tracker can be used as a single source to obtain all the details of the students relating to the COVID-19.
Record medical details of students
Most of the COVID Trackers collect and record medication authorization information and stay compliant. Also, they will maintain medicine inventory and manage reorders for medications with ease. Most of the good covid trackers provide student immunization records and manage their compliance.
Advantages of using a COVID-Tracker at school
Reducing Transmission at schools
The primary benefit of a COVID 19 tracker is to reduce transmission at schools. Recent studies show that COVID trackers can reduce transmission by up to 90%. Using this tool, you can easily identify infected students, isolate them quickly, trace their contacts, and notify them of possible exposure before recommending self-isolation.
As the name suggests, contact tracing is the systematic process of identifying students who might have contacted an infected student. They are warned about the exposure and asked to take proper precautions.
By tracing the interactions between students, you can quickly identify infected students in case of an outbreak in the school.
With the right information at hand, you can take the necessary preventive measures like asking infected students to self-isolate and not come to school.
You can also follow up with teachers and other faculties who may have encountered the infected student and request them to immediately isolate and seek medical attention to curb the spread of the disease.
Tracing, identifying, and monitoring contacts
For the COVID tracker to deliver reliable results, you must first identify and monitor the likely contacts of infected students. The whole point of this approach is to inform the contacts of a possible exposure to take appropriate action to prevent further transmission.
Ensuring the sustainable quarantine of infected students
The process of tracing and identifying contacts is just one part of the jigsaw. After diagnosing the contact, you must ensure adequate access to urgent medical assistance and quarantine facilities for them. This prevents additional transmission.
Protecting student privacy
Unfortunately, even though we live in a modern age, infected students are still at risk of being stigmatized and discriminated against. COVID Tracker upholds patient privacy unless the individual says otherwise. Patient confidentiality is a core principle of contact tracing.
Educating suspected students on the risks involved
Although COVID-19 is no longer unfamiliar, many myths and misconceptions about the virus do exist. Therefore, it is important to notify students about possible exposure to the virus and educate them on their risks. You should provide students with the correct information and support to self-isolate and protect their loved ones from contracting the virus.
Reduces the workload of school health faculties
School nurses are the most pressured employees at schools ever since the outbreak of COVID-19. Their tasks have become herculean as they must manage the normal student health records and pay special attention to the infected students. Implementing a COVID-19 tracker in the school eases their job, and all the records can be maintained systematically.
Universities including Rutgers, Brown, Cornell and North-eastern recently told students they must get vaccinated before returning to campus next fall. This explains the importance of COVID-19 tracking, and almost all educational institutions have started to take it seriously. COVID 19 tracking system for schools will play a critical role in helping keep schools open. It provides school health authorities with the right data to make faster decisions that help to keep the school environment safe. Schools using the COVID 19 tracker found that the system helps keep children learning in a safe environment.
Taylor is a freelance SEO copywriter and blogger. His areas of expertise include technology, pop culture, and marketing.