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Healthy Return to Learning team to ease COVID-19 cases in schools


Several departments across the state are teaming up to guide schools through the process in the case someone tests positive for COVID-19.

The Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state says it’s not if schools will get a case but a matter of when.

“This healthy return to learning team exemplifies that collaboration as working as one in government. Health and education coming together to keep our community safe,” shares Kirsten Baesler, the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

This team was established to connect public health officials and school administrators lending each other a hand in the fight against the coronavirus.

“Sometimes the schools find out a case before the disease control does. And then they contact their local public health point of contact person that has been identify to them. Or they reach out to a state department of health team that has been created to assist,” explains Erin Ourada, who serves as the Local Public Administrator Lead.

With 120,000 students in the North Dakota K-12 school system being able to identify close contacts through case investigation is a team effort.

“Public schools know where their staff members have been, where their students have been and their kind of just keeping track of attendance and seating charts and all that. So this is a different scenario from the regular contact tracing,” explains Ourada.

In the case someone tests positive, possible close contacts will be notified, quarantine dates will be established, and if the infected person has been in building within the last 48 hours the area they were in will be closed for cleaning.

“We wanted to create people that could be a resource that our local school districts and local public health administrators could call on in their moment of need,” says Baesler.

Through this plan HIPPA and FERPA are still in place so you can share information about students, without revealing their idenity.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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