After two years of remote classes, widespread absences, mask, testing, and vaccine requirements, and ever-changing safety protocols, schools across the country are finally enjoying some relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As case numbers continue to drop, life at most K-12 schools, colleges, and universities almost feels—dare we say it—normal.
But as much as we would all love to believe COVID-19 is behind us, recent trends suggest the current reprieve from the virus is only temporary.
The omicron subvariant BA.2, which is reportedly at least 30 percent more transmissible than the original omicron variant, is now the most dominant strain of the virus on the planet, according to the World Health Organization. Case numbers are rising steadily in Europe, which has typically been a precursor to similar surges in the United States.
Already, some schools have been affected. Cornell University, which was forced to shut down in December over a viral outbreak, recorded 515 positive COVID-19 infections among students, staff and faculty between March 17 and March 23.
“COVID-19 cases on the Ithaca campus are increasing beyond our predictions, indicating a substantial prevalence of the virus on campus,” Provost Michael Kotlikoff said in a statement.
This doesn’t mean schools should panic.
But it does mean they should be prepared and have a plan in place if (and more likely when) the next surge occurs.
Contact tracing is one of the most effective means of limiting the spread of the virus, keeping students and staff safe, ensuring the right people are isolating and quarantining, and avoiding shutdowns. Unfortunately, contact tracing can also place a tremendous burden on school administrators and nursing staffs who are already stretched thin.
Partnering with an outside contact tracing team like PubSEG (Public Safety & Economic Growth) can significantly ease that burden.
PubSEG helps K-12 schools, colleges, and universities around the country quickly scale and manage COVID-19 contact tracing. Our programs are fully managed and customized to meet each school’s needs, and our flexible model allows you to scale up or scale down your teams during surges and downturns.
Even if you don’t need us now, we’re able to help you put a program in place for down the road. Several schools have begun onboarding with us but do not have a firm date for the launch of our services. By preparing the program in advance, we’re ready to go to work the moment we’re needed.
If you’re interested in learning more about PubSEG’s contact tracing work with schools, colleges, and universities, give us a call. None of us know for sure what challenges this virus will bring next, but it’s best to be as prepared as possible when they get here.