Aug 30, 2021

A Letter to Parents About PLSD Contact Tracing

Contact tracing image

Dear Pickerington Local School District Families,

Thank you for entrusting the health and wellness of your child to the Pickerington Local School District. We would like to take a moment to outline how the district processes an individual’s positive COVID test. As a District, confirmation of positive COVID tests are verified by  the Franklin County Health Department and contact tracing of individuals identified as being in close contact to the diagnosed individual is of paramount importance. COVID guidelines have been written and are followed by all of our school buildings. 

When a positive COVID case is reported to the District, the nursing staff will contact the diagnosed individual or parent/guardian. Pertinent data is collected related to when the symptoms started, what symptoms the individual experienced, as well as the date and location of the COVID test. The health team also inquires about the health of other household members, and provides dates of when the individual diagnosed with COVID and exposed family members may return to school. 

Often the symptoms of the person diagnosed with COVID occurs a couple of days prior to testing. This factors into the contact tracing process because we track 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or the testing date for those who are asymptomatic. For example, if on 8/17/21 I develop COVID symptoms, continue to attend school and on 8/23/21 test positive for COVID, we would conduct contact tracing starting on 8/15/21. This common scenario accounts for why there may be a perceived delay in response time in reporting a COVID close contact encounters to the affected individuals of our school community. 

As soon as we receive notification of a positive COVID case in a school building, the building administrator follows the written guidelines regarding contact tracing. Contact tracing is started immediately and a list of students and staff who are identified as close contacts is compiled. During this period of time, the nursing staff is working closely with the health department to obtain a confirmation for the reported case. Once the official confirmation is received by the District, phone calls are made to the individuals.

Families and staff can assist in keeping transmission of COVID low in our schools. If a member of your household tests positive for COVID, do not send your child to school. When a staff or student is waiting for test results for COVID due to illness, all household members must remain home from school until the official test results are reported to you. Do not come to school with a fever or when you are ill. Contact your school nurse to collaboratively work to determine a date and time when your child may return to school. 

Let’s work together to provide a great year of learning for our children!

Best,

Dr. Jodi Smelko-Schneider, DNP, RN, LSN
Districtwide Health Services Coordinator