Contact tracing to take place in Alabama schools in the fall

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) says contact tracing will be a big part of reopening schools this fall.

When students return in the fall, ADPH will conduct contact tracing as part of their plan to stop the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.

“Contact tracing is just a normal public health function. It’s what we have always done with all kinds of communicable diseases,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.

We spoke with Dr. Harris about just how contact tracing works.

“We identify people who may be infected because they’ve been exposed to someone and we try to get them out of their normal walk of life,” Dr. Harris said.

There’s a major concern from education advocates about students being safe in class during the pandemic.

“I think AEA (Alabama Education Association) has always been concerned about the safety of the staff and the students as we start the process of reopening school,” UniServ District 28 Director Tracee Binion said.

ADPH says schools will not have a direct role in tracing. The department is planning to contract out a few hundred people to help with contact tracing.

“Since we don’t have a good treatment, a really effective treatment for this disease and we don’t have a vaccine for this disease. the only way to prevent it is to keep people who are infected from spreading it to other people,” Dr. Harris said.

 UAB will be one of the partners as well as an outside company that hasn’t been publicly named.


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