Wausau School District parents looking for more communication about contact tracing

Some parents are concerned by the way they’re notified in the event of a positive COVID-19 test
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 6:08 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - A week into the new school year, parents in the Wausau School District have questions when it comes to the notification process in the event of a positive COVID-19 case within their school.

In the current format, the school will notify the parents of students in the classroom where the positive test occurred. In other cases, they’ll notify the entire grade. However, some are concerned about notifying other parents whose children may have come into contact outside of the classroom.

Dr. Lindsay Schmidt is the parent of two children at Stettin Elementary School. She thinks that more school-wide communication would be appreciated.

“People who have other children at Stettin said they appreciate knowing,” said Dr. Schmidt. “If the school district’s stance is ‘Well parents don’t want to know,’ I don’t know if that’s true.”

As of Wednesday, Stettin had one positive test, as well as six individuals in quarantine. The Wausau School District sent the following statement in regards to the positive test at Stettin:

“The Wausau School District was made aware of a positive COVID-19 case at Stettin Elementary on Friday. Per our District protocol, we immediately notified the students and staff in that class. Taking it a step further, we also notified all students and staff in that grade level, too. We also notified the Marathon County Health Department right away so they could implement quarantines and begin contact tracing.

We want our parents to know that even though there was an assembly on Wednesday it was only 10 minutes. All students sat with their class. At no time, were they within 6 feet of another class.

We encourage all of our parents to monitor our COVID-19 Dashboard, as it’s updated daily. We also encourage all of our parents to monitor their child(ren) for COVID-19 symptoms and to keep them home if they are sick.”

The school district is working closely with the Marathon County Health Department to track the COVID-19 cases and identify close contacts. However, recent virus surges have made things difficult for the health department, according to Marathon County Public Health Information Officer Aaron Ruff.

“We are really overcapacity to respond to cases as they come in,” said Ruff. “Last week we had 250 new cases in the county and to have to follow up with 250 people, plus their close contacts is nearly an impossible task.”

The health department has stressed the importance of communication. When the health department calls individuals who have tested positive or came in close contact, they are in need of a response.

“If you see a call from the health department or see a voice message, please call us back,” said Ruff. “That’s what’s going to aid us in our response. We need information from positive cases. We need positive cases to notify their close contacts.”

To see the Wausau School District’s COVID-19 guidelines and their dashboard of daily positive case and quarantine numbers, visit here.

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