Union Public Schools Certifies Some Staff As Contact Tracers To Fight COVID-19

Tuesday, September 1st 2020, 9:25 pm
By: Amy Avery

TULSA, Okla. -

Some school districts in Oklahoma are switching to distance learning due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Union Public Schools has held in-person classes for more than a week, but now they’re doing daily updates to keep parents informed about cases within the district.

Union Public Schools has several staff members who are now certified contact tracers.

They went through a training put on by Johns Hopkins University and now they're working to keep students and teachers safe.

"Somebody went and hung out with their neighbors, they went to a party, they went to a wedding all of those things are showing that they're spreading the virus," said Jay Loegering, Executive Director of Human Recourses, Union.

Loegering is heading up Union Public School's Contact Tracing Team. They keep track of positive cases in the district, then work with the Tulsa Health Department to begin informing people who had previously been in contact.

Loegering said normally, the most difficult part for people is remembering who they’ve been in contact with.

"We give them ideas on how to find that on social media from their calendar, who they've been texting with who did you meet up with and trying to pull that out so they can accurately reflect who you've been near,” said Loegering.

Union currently has 22 positive cases and 145 people in quarantine due to close contact.

Loegering said the good news is that a lot of the spread isn’t happening within the district.

"It's really important for people to realize when they are out in public, when they are out doing those things it really does come back to the schools,” said Loegering.

Governor Kevin Stitt hosted a press conference Tuesday, saying more than 75% of school districts in Oklahoma have re-opened to in-person learning and 110 districts are reporting at least one positive case.

"We know that students learn best in their classrooms, when they're face to face with their teachers,” said Governor Stitt.

Administrators at Union believe the masks are making a big difference.

"The teachers have made it a part of the curriculum in understanding that’s what we do we wear masks because we're at Union and we're going to keep everyone safe," said Loegering. 

Union is updating their website every night with the latest numbers, and they are also looking to hire substitute teachers in case teachers need to quarantine.