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Davis Journal

COVID aides crucial to keeping students safe

Jan 06, 2021 10:03AM ● By Becky Ginos

WOODS CROSS—As students and teachers navigate the pandemic, COVID aides play a vital role in keeping everyone safe. The position was created to give every school in the district a point person to work directly with the Davis County Health Department (DCHD). 

Case counts have spiked since school started, keeping the aides very busy. “It keeps changing,” said Woods Cross High Assistant Principal Mike Moss. “We’re doing our best to keep kids in school. The COVID aides are working hard. They have to stay on top of it to keep parents informed.”

When DCHD notifies us of a positive case the aides start contract tracing, he said. “The teachers identify and submit the names of those students who were seated within six feet or less for more than 15 minutes with a mask on. We keep that information private.”

The aides go and verify the information, said Moss. “We don’t want kids out of school but if they were exposed the aides notify the parents by email and a phone call to let them know their student needs to quarantine.”

If there are 10 positive cases, that’s 40 to 60 students to contact trace, he said. “That’s a lot of footwork for the COVID aides. They’re doing a great job.”

“It’s definitely busy,” said Henry Ashton, a COVID aide at Woods Cross High. “There’s a lot to do but we wouldn’t make it without the support of the staff and teachers that push it along.”

When a student or teacher tests positive for COVID, it triggers the case notification protocol, he said. “We send out a letter to parents and students to let them know they’ve been exposed. We also make phone calls to answer any questions they may have about exposure and make them aware of what needs to happen regarding their quarantine.”

Ashton and the other aide work alternating days. “We depend on the teachers more than anything,” he said. “We use a Google doc that teachers can fill out and enter the names of their class so we can immediately follow up and make sure the information is accurate.”

The hardest part is getting in touch with the parents, he said. “The email is critical then through the week we follow up with a call to make sure they saw the email. If there are 10 cases with 40 to 50 students—that’s a lot of calls.”

“As with adults, I think the students are tired,” said Moss. “We haven’t seen a huge increase of students reporting that they’re stressed but I know they’re feeling it. The holiday break will give us a recharge and with a vaccine on the horizon it’s encouraging. I try to look on the bright side for the kids.”