Local school districts partner with Oswego County Health Department to notify students and staff of COVID-exposure

OSWEGO — From now on, Oswego County students and staff members who have been exposed to COVID-19 at their school may be notified by their local school district, Christopher Todd, district superintendent of Oswego County CiTI BOCES, and Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang, announced recently.

Todd said the partnership will improve COVID-19 response across the county and streamline the reporting and notification process for everyone.

The new reporting and notification system will help avoid duplicated or missing information. Based on the infected person’s activities in the school setting, the County Health Department determines who should be quarantined, and the schools will notify those close contacts or their families. New York state contact tracers will follow up with daily outreach to these families or individuals. The County Health Department will continue to notify close contacts outside of school communities throughout the county.

“Oswego County has seen exponential increases in COVID-19 over the past two weeks, and a number of school-related cases involve dozens more people who could be exposed and infected,” said Todd. “This partnership will facilitate the process of identifying and notifying close contacts. All public school districts in the county are on board.”

Huang said the new procedures enhance the strong partnerships already in place between the local health department and schools.

“We greatly appreciate the willingness of the school districts to help in the notification process,” said Huang. ”Positive COVID-19 cases have drastically increased and the health department is flooded with positive reports from lab confirmations and the contact tracing afterward.”

Dr. Christina Liepke, Oswego County medical director, said it’s important for families to be aware that schools are working in tandem with the County Health Department. She credited school district leaders for taking a strong role in the fight against COVID.

“This is for the best interest of everyone involved and will provide timely notification of the need to quarantine,” said Dr. Liepke. “Times of great trials in our community, such as this pandemic, are always best addressed when our community leaders work together. I am so thankful to be in a county that has such dedicated and caring school superintendents who genuinely care about our youth. Our health department is appreciative of their willingness to partner with us in notifying students and staff who have been exposed to a COVID-positive person.”

The health department has been working with school districts across the county on COVID-19 response plans since before classes started in September. Huang said continuous communications between the schools and the health department have helped everyone in the fight against COVID-19.

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