New Covid Tracing Method Introduced for Alta Loma High School

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Alexa Palafox, Staff Writer

Before early January, COVID cases in the schools were individually traced. Now a new method called “Group Tracing” has been introduced. There are several different rules and categories that make the new method really confusing, however if it’s proven to work better than the previous method, then it may become the permanent procedure.

Individual tracing is when only one person is looked at each time. For example, if a person had COVID, then the school would contact those people who were sitting near (ex: table groups) or in close contact with them. The group tracing method now looks at entire groups. This means that if that same person had COVID, not only would their peers next to them be contacted, but the entire class would since they were in the same indoor airspace for more than 15 minutes.

As for quarantining protocols, an individual plan would consist of either not quarantining if no symptoms occur (0 days), modified quarantining if symptoms occur but the student is vaccinated (5 days), and standard quarantining if the student shows symptoms but is unvaccinated (10 days). Under the group method, all involved would be recommended to stay in school and get tested within 3-5 days after the exposure. Testing protocols have also changed slightly, where individually, testing necessity would vary based on vaccinated status and the severity of symptoms. Now, everyone exposed is required to take a test no matter what their status is.

With this new method, quicker and broader responses are accumulated for all those involved. The two main differences between the two methods are the number of students contacted and the increase in testing rather than specific tracing. Regardless, students should take this seriously, as an increase in testing may mean and increase in cases, which also means further disrupting the education of students. Keeping your mask on and getting vaccinated are both smart and scientifically proven ways to keep yourself and other students safe.