Starting Monday, October 12th, all K12 school districts in Michigan will be required to provide a public notice detailing COVID-affected buildings or locations to the school community in a highly visible location on the school’s website. In addition, direct notification to persons who were in close contact with the infected individuals will need to take place.
The new Emergency Order comes from the Department of Health and Human Services and replaces Governor Whitmer’s nearly identical order after the Michigan Supreme Court nullified the executive orders at the end of September.
Real-time transparency is important when outbreaks occur. Many superintendents provide prompt updates, but some school districts have come under scrutiny for failing to post information in a timely manner.
“Recent outbreaks throughout the country demonstrate that COVID can spread quickly in the school setting,” said Robert Gordon, director of the state DHHS. “Timely communication from schools to parents, guardians, students, teachers, staff and other persons affiliated with schools enables members of the school community to take measures to prevent spread of the virus.”
Contact tracing and quarantine tracking tools designed to fit K12 needs are necessary as schools continue to operate safely. SchoolStatus’ contact tracing report feature generates a list that includes the infected student’s current schedule, names of teachers for each course in the section, and names and ID numbers of all students who are also in the same sections. Adhering to CDC guidance, administrators can then communicate to those on the contact tracing report to take precautionary measures.
With SchoolStatus, administrators can:
- Obtain critical data: Administrators must find and isolate the school community who may have come in contact with someone infected or symptomatic with COVID-19. SchoolStatus pulls this data and identifies which students share the same classes or schedules. SchoolStatus also monitors individuals’ quarantine start and end dates to determine when they could potentially return to school.
- Communicate efficiently: Using SchoolStatus’ communication tools, administrators can quickly send group communications specifically to those in the contact tracing report to alert them of potential exposure, inform best practices and outline next steps in an effort to contain a potential outbreak.
- Maintain privacy: The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Acts require confidentiality of students or staff members. Communications deployed through SchoolStatus are received as a one to one communication which enables families to reply directly and privately with questions and concerns.
- Demonstrate compliance: Communications are logged and recorded within SchoolStatus to demonstrate appropriate school and CDC compliance.
School districts around the country have found SchoolStatus to be an essential tool as administrators navigate changes in expectations from parents as well as the state. “We have been very pleased with the tools and functions in SchoolStatus and how the application has developed and improved over time,” says Superintendent Kyle Reynolds. “ During the COVID-19 pandemic, SchoolStatus became a critical and essential piece of our communications with students and parents."
SchoolStatus is the district-wide communication tool that integrates key student data in order to increase communication among educators, district administrators and student families. The company’s solution aggregates individual student data, such as state assessments, attendance and grades in an easy-to-visualize format and offers the option to communicate with student families via call, text or email. Through SchoolStatus, millions of communications have occurred on the classroom, campus and district level. For more information about SchoolStatus, visit www.schoolstatus.com.