The Red Wing School District's COVID Response Team has reported a successful 2020-2021 school year for contact tracing with a low number of positive cases.
“We feel our contact tracing efforts were successful due to our strict adherence to the mitigation strategies set forth by the Minnesota Department of Health,” Joni Gorman, school nurse and member of response team, said. “These mitigation requirements included six-foot social distancing, wearing of masks, cleaning protocol, frequent washing of hands, etc.”
Red Wing Public Schools had 165 reported COVID-19 cases and only three of those were found to have been contracted by a virus spread within the school buildings.
“The numbers, of course, would be much higher if all cases had been reported by families and all asymptomatic cases were detected,” Gorman said.
However, all mitigation strategies followed within Red Wing schools led to no building needing to be shut down by the state due to a large outbreak, according to the response team.
“If a positive case was reported, we would conduct a case interview and identify those students and staff who were within six feet of a positive person for longer than 15 minutes,” Gorman said. “Whole classrooms at the elementary level would be quarantined if the positive case had been in attendance for longer than a half a school day.”
Contact tracing at the Red Wing High School was a little more difficult because of students changing classes multiple times a day, but it was successful nonetheless, according to the response team.
Overall, 519 students and staff members were identified as close contacts to a positive case during the 2020-2021 school year and those people quarantined for 10-24 days.
Now that many of the Red Wing summer learning programs are in full swing, the response team has switched to watching over those and preparing for the start of school in the fall.
Summer learning programs currently require face coverings to follow state guidelines and Gorman said there has been no COVID related issues so far.
As more and more students 12 years and older get the Pfizer vaccine, fall 2021 looks to have a normal start.
“We are cautiously optimistic that next school year will look more normal,'' Gorman said. “We will continue to monitor the vaccination situation in hopes that all school age children will have the opportunity to get vaccinated.”