SOUTHINGTON — School administrators recently recognized the efforts of staff who have taken time out on weekends and evenings to conduct contact tracing for positive COVID-19 cases that have come in after hours through the district’s self-reporting form.
“People are checking a hotline and a portal every evening and every weekend for reported cases and then making contact with building administrators and contact tracing as appropriate,” School Superintendent Steve Madancy said this week. “Essentially being on call every day, all day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year since last March and I think it's a true commitment and testament to their professionalism and dedication to the district.”
Parents can use the hotline or form on the district’s website to report if a child is showing symptoms, has tested positive for COVID-19 or if a family member has tested positive. If a student tests positive, contract tracing can begin before the next school day. The hotline number is 860-628-3200 ext. 10213 and the web portal can be found at southingtonschools.org/parents-students/confirmed-covid-reporting.
“I think right now the way things are, it’s allowing all our schools to stay open and in person,” Madancy said.
The after-hours reporting options were introduced last year and cases have continued to be reported at approximately the same rate as last spring, Madancy said.
Board of Education Chairperson Terri Carmody said the district’s number one goal is keeping children, staff and families safe. The time administrators, nurses and teachers are putting in to contact tracing outside their normal working hours has made the process more efficient, she added.
“They’re doing a marvelous job and I know that it is taking a lot of time for them to do all that; and that's while trying to run a very large school system,” she said. “So we as the board (are) very pleased with the administration and what they’re doing for contact tracing.”
Hatton Elementary School Principal Robert Garry said the process has helped to allow schools to stay open by augmenting the district's other precautions, including sanitizing regimens, classroom cohorting and mask wearing.
In one incident, a positive case was reported the evening before Thanksgiving. The contact tracing investigation identified him as having been in contact with the individual right away, allowing him to quarantine before the holiday.