Campus Health - COVID and beyond

Minimize Spread

As most everyone knows, essential factors are contributing to public health safety relating to managing COVID-19 spread. Tools and protocols like social distancing, virus testing, contact tracing, and facial coverings are considerations for ensuring a safe environment. We will focus on the area of contact tracing and management of the process within a school environment.



Contact Tracing Solutions

Contact tracing solutions implemented at a school, district, or business must balance personal privacy and personal safety of students, faculty, and employees. It is not necessary to track every single movement of everyone on campus. Contact Tracing within a school or work environment can easily be achieved using data already within your organization’s information systems. The objective of staying open and reducing any potential spread of COVID requires multiple systems that today may not talk to each other to provide the needed insights to help manage your organization or school.


The challenge today is that an IT organization or a vendor must:

  • Quickly implement and easily configure changes that arise from the evolving health environment on your campus.

  • Incorporate requirements which are prescribed from the Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines.

  • Create supplemental data that does not reside in existing systems to share with the Department of Public Health, contact tracers, and staff while being HIPAA and FERPA compliant.

  • Enable consistent communication between leadership, parents, employees, etc. to send the right message to manage health concerns and build confidence in how you, as a school or business, are managing a process.

  • Manage suspected and positive COVID-19 cases as a process workflow, not just a list of names.

  • Enable school administrators, superintendents, and school nurses to take immediate action based on near real-time data.




School Nurse / Clinical Aide or Contact Tracer Challenges

Nurses working in a school or a district are being asked to comply with CDC Guidelines to reduce health risks. In doing this, it does add workload that school nurses must now manage. In most cases, a school nurse has been asked to participate in a COVID taskforce, be a contact tracer, handle suspected cases, collaborate with the DPH as well as provide them with weekly cluster data and lastly, ensure the health of students and faculty outside of COVID.



Given the additional workload required to contact trace, the school campus has to figure out how to manage the volume of new work. This may result in adding additional resources, increasing workload of existing resources, dealing with an increase in errors due to competing priorities. Another consideration is the risk of information not flowing quickly to critical decision makers and stakeholders. The best way a school or district can address the additional people required or the increased manual work is by looking at solutions that go beyond contact tracing.


Campus Health Protocols

A school administrator must develop protocols to support both suspected and positive cases. Below are some considerations that should be addressed on your campus to manage COVID cases.




Important scenarios that require protocols:

  • A student, faculty member, or staff member tests positive

  • A student, faculty member, or staff member has suspected COVID symptoms or needs to be quarantined

  • Identify exposed people when someone tests positive (students, faculty, siblings, staff, and parents) Note: Do not solely rely on a government agency to manage your open / closure process.

  • Understand the criteria and data required to send to the Department of Public Health

  • Standardize attendance codes across campuses to ensure consistency and enable auditing for COVID symptoms

  • Determine the number of times a positive case individual has had contact with exposed individuals

  • Assign designated seating or areas to understand movements to help assess when someone tests positive

  • Identify extracurricular activities, rooms, and bus routes to have an overall view of points of exposure

  • Communicate on-campus health to parents, staff, and faculty

  • Establish key performance indicators to loosen restrictive protocols

  • Develop a near-real-time performance dashboard to be shared with parents, faculty, and staff on a near real-time basis

  • Most Important is to automate as much of the process as possible to reduce work, turnaround time and enable you to move quickly to minimize spread

  • Beyond Contact Tracing

  • To put this in perspective, the most viable solution for a school district focuses on the overall health of the campus, of which contact tracing is a part of the process. Although COVID maybe the initial priority to keep schools open, managing the overall health of the campus has broad reaching benefits. For example:

  • Keeping schools open

  • Avoiding costs (Less resources needed to manage the processes)

  • Reducing learning gaps

  • Lowering health risk for students, faculty, and staff

  • Improving attendance


Beyond Contact Tracing

To put this in perspective, the most viable solution for a school district focuses on the overall health of the campus, of which contact tracing is a part of the process. Although COVID maybe the initial priority to keep schools open, managing the overall health of the campus has broad reaching benefits.


For example:

  • Keeping schools open

  • Avoiding costs (Less resources needed to manage the processes)

  • Reducing learning gaps

  • Lowering health risk for students, faculty, and staff

  • Improving attendance



Flexibility

School administrators and leadership have to manage COVID and health challenges through a flexible lens. Your vendor-partner also has to be flexible to support new requirements that come from the Department of Public Health, revised CDC guidelines, State Agencies, or the Governor's office.

The success of your school staying open and healthy will depend on the protocols and solutions implemented. Visibility into the health status of your campus, school resilience to think out of the box, and your ability to make changes when necessary by managing all suspected cases are essential.


Resources


Ready to talk?

We work with ambitious leaders who want to define the future, not hide from it. Together, we achieve extraordinary outcomes.