Contact tracing, cohorting, distancing, and hygiene
Why they still matter
- By keeping people together in small groups that don’t interact, you limit the number of people to whom one positive case can transmit. Plus it makes your contact tracing a lot easier.
Distancing adds a layer of protection
Remember the Swiss Cheese analogy: “No single intervention is perfect at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Each intervention (layer) has holes.” But putting several layers together decreases infection risk dramatically.
By itself, physical distancing doesn’t add much protection, because COVID-19 is an airborne disease. But for unvaccinated people, including children under age 12, every layer of protection is important.
Effective contact tracing slows the spread
The goal of contact tracing is to isolate infected folks and quarantine their close contacts so that they can’t spread disease to anyone else.
Because COVID-19 now spreads so easily, it’s more important than ever to identify folks who are infected and notify their close contacts as quickly as possible.
Hand hygiene is just common senseFortunately, surfaces aren’t a major source of COVID-19 infection. However, keeping your hands clean is an easy way to keep yourself from getting not only a rare surface-borne COVID-19 infection, but also flu, the common cold, and other nasty viruses.
How to do it
CDC guidance for K-12 schools: contact tracing
Your school probably knows this drill, but just in case, here are the key points:
- Collaborate with your local board of health. They’re your number-one partners in this effort.
- Set up systems that allow you to identify close contacts and get in touch with them easily.
- Keep track of the latest isolation and quarantine guidelines for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and make sure your school community is aware of them.
Shareable graphics: contact tracingPrintable and downloadable graphics to help you spread the word about contact tracing both within your school building and online. Available in English and Spanish, and in sizes suitable for social media.
Stay home when you’re sick!
Come on, people, we knew this before the pandemic even started.
Here’s a set of terrific checklists that you can use as templates, to help your students, staff, and visitors figure out if they should come to school. From Northborough Public Schools in Massachusetts.
That said, don’t waste your time using temperature checks alone as a way to screen for COVID-19. You can have the disease and be contagious without having a fever.
Plexiglas makes things worseExcept for situations in which people are standing face to face for minutes at a time (think cashiers in grocery stores), Plexiglas barriers don’t help. In fact, they create a barrier to airflow that can make it harder to ventilate a room properly.
How to set up cohortsAgain, your school probably has figured out its own way to organize cohorts. But if you need a refresher, start on page 13 of this document. Important: Make sure your cohorts are inclusive and decrease segregation.
Deep cleaning = hygiene theater
Important Regulatory Information about SalivaDirect™
SalivaDirect™has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization for use by authorized laboratories. The test has been authorized only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. This test is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostic tests for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.