Published on February 15, 2022 at 1:45 p.m.
The Northern Lehigh School District plans to join other nearby school districts in ending contact tracing.
District Superintendent Matthew J. Link shared information and a recommendation on the district’s COVID health and safety plan during Monday’s school board meeting.
Link said the week of Jan. 10, about two weeks after returning from winter vacation, the district saw its biggest spike in positive cases for students and faculty, or all employees, since the week of Jan. 13. September.
After that, Link said cases remained relatively low for students and very low for employees.
Link said over the past three weeks the district has only had two cases for employees and has averaged about seven cases for students over the past three weeks.
“The numbers are down; I think that reflects a trend we’re seeing locally,” Link said. “I checked the report from Lehigh County and Northampton County last week, and they almost halved in the number of positive cases and the percentage of people who tested positive.”
Link said he double-checked with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, then recommended the district end contact tracing.
“What I would like to recommend to the board tonight is that we end contact tracing so that we no longer send notifications to parents if their child may be in close contact with a student who has tested positive.” , did he declare. . “I would like to recommend that we end contact tracing; the Department of Health has said we are able to do this, and I know a number of other local school districts around Lehigh County and Northampton County are no longer notifying parents or guardians if their child may be in close contact.
Council Chairman Mathias Green asked the council if he would like to have a motion and a second to allow Link to do so, or if he is satisfied that the permission he has given is sufficient for him allow to participate.
Manager Gary Fedorcha said he thinks the board gave Link that recognition and he’d like it to continue.
Director Robert Keegan Jr. asked what happens if you’re the mother of a kindergarten child and all of a sudden they say, “You’re not going to call me when my child has been in contact close with someone at school”.
“And I know this is happening across the Commonwealth,” Keegan said. “What will be the answer? »
Link responded based on the contents of the district health and safety plan.
“If your son or daughter has symptoms, they should stay home,” he said. “That will be the ongoing message and then they should contact their health care provider and also contact our school nurse.
“We are not tracing contacts outside of schools; they don’t do that anymore. In addition to our school system, in our data what we see is when we have notified families that their son or daughter has been in close contact and it is their choice if they want to put their son or their daughter in quarantine, very, very, very few choose to quarantine themselves; they are only quarantined if they show symptoms.
Keegan said he only asked the question because they knew it was coming.
Link summed up what it all means moving forward.
“This means that we would no longer inform parents if their child was or is in close contact; if someone tests positive, they should always self-isolate,” he said. “If it is an unvaccinated household member, they will still need to follow quarantine, or if it is a vaccinated household member who has symptoms, they will still need to follow quarantine.”