As school systems across the region work to get students back in the buildings, we are also working with state and local health departments to help with contact tracing within the school system.
We are keeping up with the ever-changing rules and guidelines from our state and local health departments and the CDC. Upon notification from the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH), we will work in collaboration with Southwestern District Health Unit to inform the people that have been exposed to someone testing positive for Covid-19 or someone that has been in contact with someone testing positive for Covid-19.
Our local health department (Southwestern District Health Department) takes the lead on determining positive cases and their contacts. If a student or staff member is identified as a close contact (those guidelines are defined as someone who was within six or fewer feet of a person who tested positive for 15 minutes or more), the health department will let them know and the system will follow up.
Anyone who has had a close contact, under the guidelines noted above, the North Dakota Department of Health will contact you personally and privately. The school is going to protect individuals on an ‘as needed’ basis. If some needs to know, they absolutely will know.
We know the line between confidentiality and wanting to keep parents informed is going to be extremely difficult; however, we will maintain the confidentiality of everyone involved. We also understand in small schools it is going to be hard to not personally identify people because we are a small school.
Hopefully we can be as transparent as we can and inform our community and our parents of situations going on in our school system while at the same time understanding confidentiality is a primary concern when it comes to our students and staff.
We will continue to send letters home and use the district’s email and text messaging system that is already in place to keep our school community informed.
State and local health departments, along with the school, will only contact those students, parents, and staff who have a student who was in close contact.
We are taking every precaution to protect our students, staff and their families reopening our school creating opportunities to invest in the education, well-being, and future of our greatest assets – our children.