[PODCAST] On December 17, 2021, the CDC changed its guidance for students in schools who have been “close contacts” to persons that have tested positive for COVID-19. In this episode, Doc analyzes the new guidance, compares it to previous guidance, unpacks how contact tracing works in schools, and also takes a macro-look at overall immunization compliance in schools for students K-12 for mumps, measles, rubella, polio, and other required (non-COVID) vaccinations. Doc studied schools’ data and assembled a graphic with alarming information. Thanks to all of you for helping Doc surpass 1000 subscribers to his “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel.
DIRECT LINK to MP3 of this Episode: https://tinyurl.com/SDP163-AUDIO
CDC TEST-TO-STAY. From the CDC: “Test to Stay combines contact tracing and serial testing (testing that is repeated at least twice during a seven-day period post-exposure) to allow asymptomatic school-associated close contacts who are not fully vaccinated and do not test positive for SARS-CoV-2 to continue in-person learning. Because fully vaccinated close contacts are not required to quarantine following exposure, they would not be included in Test to Stay. Students who participate in Test to Stay should consistently and correctly wear masks while in school and should stay home and isolate if they develop symptoms or test positive for SARS-CoV-2. In the studies done in Illinois and California, both the person with COVID-19 and the close contact had to be properly masked at the time of exposure to qualify for Test to Stay. If schools are considering implementing Test to Stay, they should also have robust contact tracing in place and access to testing resources (for example, testing supplies and personnel to conduct testing, or access to an existing community testing site), among other layered prevention strategies. Testing frequency can vary (for example, from twice in a seven-day period to daily), but more frequent testing can more quickly identify students who become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and need to isolate.”
CONTACT TRACING IN SCHOOLS. Dr. Perrodin shares that most school districts in his state have fewer than 1000 students and do not employ a designated “contact tracer.” Close Contacts are determined by settings in the school’s schedule software. For example, identifying which students were in a 7th hour geometry course attended by a student who tested positive for COVID. Doc is skeptical of the test-to-stay guidance due to shorthanded schools and lack of tests.
WISCONSIN STUDENT IMMUNIZATION COMPLIANCE CHECK. Wisconsin Immunization Law (State Statute 252.04)requires that each of the state’s 421 school districts annually submit a report of immunization compliance for students. The 2020-2021 compliance requirements are found at (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p44021.pdf). Here are the requirements: K-5: 4 doses polio, 3 doses hepatitis B, 2 doses MMR, and 2 doses Varicella. Per Wisconsin DHS, students are compliant with the immunization law if they meet all of the minimum immunization requirements, are considered “in process”, or have a waiver on file. The percent of Students Compliant with Immunization Law in 2020-2021 in Wisconsin is publicly available at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p02388a.pdf : Here are reports from 12 of Wisconsin’s 421 school districts: Blair Taylor 628 students total enrolled in district = no reports received; Beloit 5426 students with 389 students not in compliance = 92.82%; Baraboo = 100%; Ashland 1863 students with 95 students not in compliance = 94.87%; Butternut = no reports received; Columbus 1242 students with 30 students not in compliance = 97.52%; Fall River 492 students with 3 students not in compliance = 99.38%; Portage = 100%; Potosi = no reports give; Madison 25,503 students with 438 students not in compliance = 98.28%; Milwaukee 66,977 students with 6429 students not in compliance = 90.40%; and Montello (614 students with 29 students not in compliance = 95.22%. 32/421 (8%) school districts did not submit reports! This is abysmal, yet there are no statements from the DPI or DHS indicating efforts to complete the data sets.
This is episode 163 of The Safety Doc Podcast published on 12-22-2021.
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