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Leon County Schools clarifies contact tracing protocol

Posted at 8:16 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 20:16:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Parents are growing frustrated over contact-tracing protocols, saying conflicting messages and decisions over who quarantines just don't make sense.

Leon County Schools says the answer starts with your child's principal. Any questions or concern that you have will be answered best by them.

Parent Heather Rosenberg says while she doesn't blame Leon County Schools, she felt frustration early on with the contact tracing protocol.

"We got our first phone call from the school telling us that one of my kids had been in close contact with somebody four days prior," she said, "The whole idea, the contact tracing and the whole mechanism of the contacts and the quarantine, they're not effective and they're not working."

Leon County School's Communications Director Chris Petley says it's a frustration many are feeling.

“We understand it’s frustrating. It’s important to know that we’re all parents out here. They are implementing these protocols that we also have to go through. The Superintendent and multiple staff has had to go through this multiple times,” said Petley.

There's two sides to contact tracing. It begins with your child's school. Contact tracing begins on the school level.
Every student has a seating assignment that doesn't change.
If that students tests positive, the school will review that seating chart and determine if any student on the chart within 3-6 feet is nearby. Then the principal will call the parents.

"Now they're not going to necessarily call the parent of a positive student to ask that student and the parent who they were around, they are really looking to that seating chart and they work with the teacher to identify students that have to go through the exposure list," he said.

The Leon County Department of Health is second to get involved, but its role is more clerical, dealing more with the big picture.

"I would say to just really work with your school. The health department is overrun with all of the positives and all of the exposures throughout the county. Our schools deal with what's going on inside our buildings," said Petley.

Now LCS is giving schools $10,000 to help make contact tracing easier.

"Parents will tell you our principals are making these calls on the weekends. This money will let them pay an employee or hire someone to help with calls," he said.

As for quarantines,students can return after the fourth day if they present a negative test.

The first day of quarantine begins the day the school is notified of a positive test.

ABC 27 reached out to the Department of Health for further clarification, but did not hear back.