PERRYSBURG — The school district has added to the reporting of coronavirus contact tracing and reporting and modified the calling method to families, based on new rules from the Ohio Department of Health.
“We were pinging families too often. We were sending messages to families for every possible contact,” said Rachel Zickar, director of communications for Perrysburg Schools. “Now we have to send an email to everybody in a building only if there is a positive test.”
Even if there are multiple positive tests for a building, the district now needs to send only one email in a day.
The new health department requirements came out on Sept. 3, based on Ohio Department of Health orders.
Zickar said that families were being contacted several times in a day, which led to confusion. Now the goal is to send out a single summary email per day.
The new COVID-19 weekly reporting format was also released at the regular school board working group meeting Sept. 1.
“There isn’t a standard format. It is up to everybody’s individual district,” Zickar said about the COVID-19 information reporting.
The district has changed the COVID-19 Tracing Weekly Reporting in two ways.
• The date range was adjusted to Friday through Thursday, instead of Monday to Friday. As new cases are occurring they are being traced over the weekend. The report is now reflecting total new activity during the week.
• Total “Individuals Traced” is a new category added. These traced individuals did not necessarily result in quarantine or isolation.
Zickar stressed that the date range is only new cases.
“The most useful thing to know is that’s what is new and happening last week. So one person could get requarantined or isolated for what has turned into long-term hospitalization, but would not be counted a second time,” Zickar said.
The definition of the “isolated” category now includes additional individuals who are symptomatic or have a probable diagnosis.
A quarantined status of 14 days is the length of time that anyone who has been in direct contact with someone who tests positive for the COVID-19 virus. That individual must quarantine as symptoms can start anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. The quarantine period starts on the last day the person was known to have had contact with a person who tests positive. The quarantine may end after 14 days, but only if the individual was symptom-free the entire time.
Zickar noted that, as an example, if someone were quarantined and then someone else in the same family unit were found to have COVID-19 several days into the quarantine, that quarantine time would start over again, but the individual would not be counted a second time, because they never left quarantine.
Isolated is defined as individuals with symptoms who: “were screened and are at home, had a positive test or have a probable diagnosis,” according to district literature.
At that school board meeting, it was reported that extensive records in the district’s contact tracing program includes building, school activities, bus routes and employee classification. But that level of “granular information” is not shared because some areas have so few cases that it may allow the public to personally identify the individual who is quarantined or isolated, violating privacy laws.
Perrysburg’s Aug. 4-Sept. 10 numbers had 121 new cases of students quarantined and 12 employees. There were 39 students and 2 employees isolated. Individuals traced was reported at 198, an increase of 83 traced over last week’s tracing. There are 5,539 students and 721 employees in the district.
In unrelated business, the board approved a contract with Findlay Interpreting Services for the 2020-21 school year at a rate of $45 per hour, during regular hours and at $60 per hour if extra-curricular activities occur after business hours.
The Perrysburg Virtual Academy has 538 students currently enrolled.
Transportation is delivering students to seven Perrysburg Schools buildings: Preschool, Frank, Ft. Meigs, Woodland, Toth, Hull Prairie Intermediate and Perrysburg Junior High School, and 13 non-Perrysburg Schools buildings, as required by the state.
The meeting ended with an executive session of the board for the purpose of compensation and negotiations with public employees.