As states ease stay-at-home guidelines and school districts start to plan to reopen, one fact stands out: COVID-19 has not yet been defeated and the disease remains a threat to public health. Although efforts are fully underway to develop a vaccine, such protections do not yet exist, so precautions must still be taken and efforts including the facilitation of contact tracing should be made.
What is contact tracing?
Contact tracing, the gathering of accurate data concerning which individuals have likely been exposed to the virus, is a proven method of controlling the spread of infectious diseases. Once a person has been identified as a likely exposure risk, that person is encouraged to isolate, and information about exactly who that person has come in contact with is gathered. Then, health officials track down each of those other persons and obtain the same information, creating a web of connections among the population and a picture of the spread of the disease.
As public health officials seek to understand the spread of the virus and keep new infections to a minimum, school districts can play a key role. By screening every school visitor, volunteer, and contractor and recording key data such as the name, address, date and time of visit, and the area of the building the person was authorized to visit, school districts can create a valuable data set that health officials can use to track the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. But such efforts have the potential to generate a lot of data and managing that data can be daunting. That is where the advantages of an automated visitor management system, such as Raptor® Visitor Management, really show forth.
Automated visitor management is key
Raptor Visitor Management captures personal information from each visitor’s state-issued ID as part of the check-in process. This data is securely recorded within the system, and the robust reporting capabilities of the Raptor system enable this data to be quickly retrieved and shared with health officials to assist with contact tracing efforts if a school visitor subsequently tests positive for the disease. The data is password-protected to prevent inadvertent distribution, and Raptor recommends retention of these personal and specific visit details for at least 28 days to aid contact tracing efforts.
Privacy, privacy, privacy
Contact tracing might raise concerns regarding medical privacy; public health officials are ethically and legally bound to protect personal information and use it only for public health purposes. Health officials would notify others in the extended school community only that they may have been exposed to someone who has come down with the virus. Respecting the individual privacy of those persons known to have become infected is of the utmost importance. Raptor Visitor Management software safeguards all collected data with ultra-secure cloud storage and undergoes continual system penetration testing and security audits. No personal or screening data should be shared other than for such public health purposes.