Bulloch Co. Schools to end contact tracing for COVID exposures

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:31 PM EST
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BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - In response to updated Department of Public Health (DPH) guidance, Bulloch County Schools has decided to no longer contact trace exposures to COVID-19 positive cases in its schools and offices.

“This will reduce the burden placed on our nurses and administrative staff so that they can redirect their time to tasks directly related to teaching and learning and routine health needs in our schools,” said Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson.

The district will stop its contact tracing efforts at 8 p.m. on Jan. 21. after any close contact notifications for Friday are complete. The school district will continue to report COVID-19 cases to DPH and the public on a weekly basis.

The school district says employees and parents should still use the school district’s online COVID-19 Absences tool or contact their school to report any of the following:

  • You have a confirmed-positive case of COVID-19
  • You choose to quarantine for 5 to 10 days due to a known close contact with a positive case
  • You have COVID-19 symptoms after close contact to a known COVID-positive case and will isolate for 5 to 10 days
  • Families may follow the DPH’s guidance of five full days of isolation or quarantine in these instances, or they may choose for their child to remain home for up to 10 days. Please contact your school if you choose the 10-day option.

The school district continues to encourage families to make health decisions which are best for their families and to not send students to school sick. The ‘Daily Health Guide for Employees & Students’ can help families continue to practice the personal responsibility of conducting a daily health self-check, according to the school district. It is a helpful reference to monitor symptoms and know when to isolate or quarantine.

“It is imperative that we keep schools open and operating under the most normal conditions possible, providing our students with a sense of stability while attending to their overall psychological, emotional, mental, academic, and physical well being,” Superintendent Charles Wilson said.

Free weekly meals are available for pick up for children who are isolated or quarantined. For the time period a child is isolated or quarantined, they are provided distance learning by the school district.

Governor Brian Kemp and Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey announced new COVID policies for Georgia schools on Thursday, January 6. The new policies relaxed requirements for contact tracing and teacher quarantines as well as expanded testing availability through the state. This means school districts, like Bulloch County Schools, have the flexibility to choose not to conduct contact tracing. Multiple districts throughout the state are also ending the practice, and so are multiple states such as Vermont, New York, and Texas.

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