Dorchester Distr. 2 asks parents for help in reporting COVID cases, contact tracing

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 3:41 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester District Two is asking parents to get their kids tested as soon as COVID symptoms appear, and report the results to the district as soon as they know.

DD2 Director of Nursing Amanda Santamaria says the district tries to notify parents about close contacts to COVID within 24 hours of them learning about them, but she says they cannot contact trace until they are told about a positive case.

Jonelle Young is the parent of a DD2 high schooler. She says she is concerned because sometimes she is not notified until days after the exposure.

“Because now she’s already been there all those days,” Young said. “So, we’re almost done with it. And I understand it must be really hard and frustrating for teachers and administrators, but then it’s kind of a broken system.”

Dorchester District Two’s Nursing Services team says they’ve seen COVID-19 cases decrease since they went completely virtual for seven school days about a month ago. They are now asking parents and students to work with them by reporting cases as soon as possible, so they can improve contact tracing efforts.

“We can only contact trace when we receive the information from parents,” Santamaria said. “So, if we receive a report that a student tested positive today, but their symptoms started last Thursday, we have to contact trace all the way back to last Tuesday.”

Santamaria says if there is a delay in the notification process, it’s because the district was also notified late about it.

She says she understands this is frustrating for others, especially when having to quarantine a second or third time.

“So we will continue doing everything we can to mitigate the spread and keep students safe and unfortunately when exposures happen we hope that they will understand it’s just something that we have to do,” she said.

Santamaria says each elementary and middle school in the district has at least one nurse and all high schools have two. While nurses handle most of the contact tracing throughout the day, she says they do use extra help when needed.

She says they are hiring substitute nurses for when they need extra help or when a nurse is out.

If you are interested, you can apply on the DD2 website.

The substitute nurses they hire can be registered nurses or licensed practical nurses who have valid nursing licenses. They do not need a separate registration to work in schools.

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