Contact Tracing Changes Due to COVID-19 Vaccine
Elizabeth Bleyer, junior, was notified that she was exposed to COVID-19 after getting pulled out of her Child Development class on Monday, April 26.
Bleyer was expecting to attend Prom with her friends and the seniors, but instead had to quarantine. She missed out on two show choir clinic days for auditions as well, Bleyer said.
During her quarantine period, Bleyer realized how much she enjoyed attending school in person, as she had difficulty focusing on online learning. She also missed her friends, Bleyer said.
However, her quarantine experience was easier than expected, as she spent her time FaceTiming friends and watching TV shows. Bleyer returned to school Monday, May 3.
Students returned to in-person classes in November 2020 and RSD has tried to reduce transmission of COVID-19 by contacting tracing students through the use of QR codes and seating charts.
Amy Wehr, Wellness and Health Services Supervisor, said RSD will contact trace and quarantine in-person students who were within six feet and longer than 15 minutes of a positive COVID-19 case.
However, if a student is fully vaccinated for COVID-19, they are exempt from quarantining as long as they remain asymptomatic.
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved for ages 16 and up, and now is approved for ages 12 and up. Wehr said RSD will not be requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for students or staff.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the St. Louis County Health Department will be the ones to decide the contingencies of contact tracing and whether it will be put in place next school year, Wehr said.
Wehr said RSD cannot wait to end the calls to quarantine students and staff.
“It is heartbreaking for us all to put our students on the sidelines of their lives while they remain perfectly healthy.” Wehr said.
Gina Emms, school nurse, has been working together with the administration and Jessica Unruh, school nurse, to contact trace.
“Our process is very fluid and everyone on our team has an important role,” Emms said. “We have been lucky to have such a great contact tracing team that is fully supported.”
RSD will continue to follow guidelines from the CDC and St. Louis County Health Department and continue contact tracing and roll out changes when they are available. Emms said flexibility has been the key to their success in keeping students and staff safe.
“Together, as part of our community MHS has succeeded in our goal of keeping our kids safe at school this year,” Emms said.
Grace Taylor, junior, is the Social Media Editor of Facebook for the Marquette Messenger. This is her first year on staff. Grace also plays varsity field...