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Contact Tracing Now Made Easy for Schools Nationwide

April 21, 2021 at 3:38 PM

Contact Tracing for Covid-19 infections – while difficult to do in most cases but proven to be effective in the fight to eradicate the virus – has recently become extremely easy and lighting quick for school districts nationwide because of a specialized plug-in for districts using PowerSchool as its Student Information System (SIS).

We recently announced a new report generation option for Contact Tracing in our suite of powerful reporting capabilities called RealTime Reports.

Realistically, in under 5 minutes, any school staff using Level Data’s very intuitive RealTime Reports can:

  • Identify all students who were enrolled in the same classes as a Covid-positive-test student or teacher
  • Signify who was present in class vs. who was virtually attending with said student or teacher within the timeline of dates searched 
  • And if the school has a built-in messenger system, this RealTime Report process will send an automated email (or recorded phone call) out to all the parents of students associated with the report to alert them that an opportunity for exposure took place. 

Additionally, the same extracted list can be reported to the school districts’ local and state Health and Human Services agencies without delay – all with the touch of a few clicks.

Without such report-producing capabilities, most schools nationwide burn up a full school day – or more – of time by leafing through classroom lists, seating charts, attendance reports and date ranges, going section by section to cross reference all the possible and legitimate contacts with the Covid positive-tested student(s).

Instead, it’s all done in 5 minutes by utilizing the student and staff data stored in each district’s SIS validated database.

“Contact tracing is very difficult currently,” said Debbie Fox, senior technology consultant to a metro Detroit school district who also said most often contact tracing is their principal’s job to handle. “It’s very time consuming when going through it at each building. Elementary level is not as difficult because they basically have one classroom that the kids stay with; but the middle and high school has seven different periods, then lunch and it gets crazy.”

“Contact tracing is very difficult currently... It’s very time consuming when going through it at each building. Elementary level is not as difficult because they basically have one classroom that the kids stay with; but the middle and high school has seven different periods, then lunch and it gets crazy.”

Some school districts nationwide rely on help from their local community healthy agencies to contact trace and offer additional solutions. Yet a “Contact Tracing Procedures for K-12 Schools” report by the state of North Carolina updated on March 24, 2021 reminds schools: “…local health departments may have limited capacity to rapidly conduct case investigation and contact tracing while also engaged with COVID-19 vaccine delivery.”

What it all boils down to is any school district utilizing PowerSchool as its SIS can extract all the report parameters it needs to Contact Trace classroom attendance (including in-person vs. virtual), overlapped student exposures in any date range it chooses all on their own, alert the parents of students involved – and do so in a matter of minutes by using Level Data’s RealTime Reports.

A second version in RealTime Reports is coming soon (by mid-May) from Level Data that will drill down even deeper to Contact Trace for all the parameters discussed above, plus adding lunch periods, school bus transportation and after-school sports and activities.

Check out our guide to read step-by-step procedures on how to Contact Trace in RealTime Reports for PowerSchool.

Tom Lang
Written by Tom Lang

Tom Lang has spent more than 3 decades in the field of journalism and marketing, while always having a hand in public education. His father was a school teacher, his mom a school secretary, and his wife teaches high school English and Humanities. On his own, Tom worked his way through college as a school bus driver and today remains closely tied to education as a Board member of FIRST (Robotics) in Michigan. He has worked with high school coaches and athletes for nearly 30 years as a freelance sports writer at the Detroit Free Press, and for more than 10 years as a basketball referee. Bottom line -- help kids grow, learn and create productive futures.

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