COVID-19 CONTACT TRACING

Contact Tracing has been used for decades by state and local health departments to slow or stop the spread of communicable diseases. In addition to our infrastructure investments, new behavioral norms, and COVID-19 testing, contact tracing is another layer of safety that will help us minimize the presence of the COVID-19 virus on campus.

For questions regarding contact tracing, please view the short video below, and also review the Contact Tracing FAQs at the bottom of this page.

Contact Tracing FAQs

How did my child get contact traced?

In conjunction with a detailed interview with individuals deemed positive through the twice-weekly testing process, we rely on sensor data, class seating charts, and attendance logs in order to determine close contacts and make quarantine decisions. We only quarantine those who have met the criteria of being within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more.

Why don’t we follow the CDC 10-day quarantine rule?

• Our quarantine rules are determined by the NJDOH, which looks at CDC guidelines as well as other risk factors when making their recommendations.

• The NJDOH has a color-coded system for quarantine recommendations for schools based on regional risk levels in the state. The current risk level in Pingry’s region (Central West) is ‘Orange’ or High Risk, which states that school should use a 14-day quarantine timeline.

• The above guidelines are also followed by the Bernards Township Health Department.

• Additionally, the CDC continues to endorse 14-day quarantines and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against the possibility of spreading the virus.

What if the person with whom my child was a close contact later tests negative in a follow up test?

• PCR test results can vary for a variety of reasons. These include differences in how well the coronavirus is able to make copies of itself in one person compared to in another person, and cases where sample collection (e.g. getting swabbed) does not capture enough of the virus.

• Based on a study Published by Yale, there is more virus in saliva-based tests than nasal swabs. Our lab partner Mirmius uses a saliva-based test, which is shown to be the most reliable PCR test. https://news.yale.edu/2020/04/24/saliva-samples-preferable-deep-nasal-swabs-testing-covid-19

• Once an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, they are presumed to have contracted the virus. Therefore, we will not accept any changes to this result with any following tests that show a negative result.

If Pingry has testing, bi-polar ionization filtration, masks, and plexiglass, why is it necessary to  quarantine?

• You might recall in one of our Health & Safety Family Webinars that we presented the “swiss cheese” model of protection for our community. Individual layers of protection are insufficient on their own, but together, they allow for strong protection against the virus,

• Safety precautions such as masks and plexiglass provide an added measure of protection against COVID-19; however, they do not completely eliminate the possibility of transmission, especially if there is a high known exposure to the virus.

• Quarantine is an integral part of our strategy to ensure the health and well-being of the community, and to ensure that the school continues to stay open for in-person learning.

• Furthermore, the NJDOH requires schools that are open for in-person learning to  quarantine individuals who are contact traced to a positive case.

Can you tell me if the person with whom my child was a close contact is the positive member of the identified pair or the negative member of the pair?

We only make quarantine decisions based on close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. If you receive notification of your child being a close contact, it means we have completed the process of identifying the positive member(s) of the positive pair.

Can you please tell me more about the exposure level that my child had to the positive case? 

In order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the “case,” we are only able to disclose that your child has been within six feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over the course of a 24-hour period with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19.

Do the other members of our household need to quarantine if my child has to quarantine?

No. Contact tracing protocols based on guidance from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the NJDOH do not require second degree contacts to quarantine. If your child develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 the members of your house would then need to quarantine.

Why would I need to reach out to ContactTracing@pingry.org?

We ask that community members self-report any quarantines or isolations (whether from positive testing or known exposure and symptoms) to ContactTracing@pingry.org to help us protect the health and safety of our community. For questions regarding contact tracing, see the video above.

Who receives/reviews the emails sent to ContactTracing@pingry.org?

The following Pingry staff members receive the emails sent to ContactTracing@pingry.org:

  • Mike Saraceno, Contact Tracing Coordinator

  • Apu, Pingry Contact Tracer

  • David Fahey, Director of Operations, Safety and Strategic Initiatives

After receiving an email, it is reviewed and someone from the Contact Tracing Team is assigned to the case. This process helps keep the confidentiality of each person who submits a close contact and/or presumed/confirmed positive COVID-19 case.

Who is on the The Contact Tracing Team?

The Contact Tracing Team at Pingry consists of the following Certified Contact Tracers:

  • Apu, System Engineer 

  • Michael Saraceno CSCS, SCCC
  • Erin Boccher MS, ATC 

  • Gabriella D’Amodio MS, ATC

  • Jennifer DiBiasi BSN, RN

  • Paula Edell BSN, RN

  • Joyce Livak RN

  • Erin Carannante MS, ATC
  • Freddy Schachter
  • Helena Moseman

  • Stephen Spezio MS, ATC, CSCS

When will someone from the Contact Tracing Team contact me?

Possible scenarios for why a Contact Tracer may contact you include (1) to follow up on self-reported isolations and quarantines, (2) to notify you of an identified need for isolation (e.g., resulting from testing) or quarantine (e.g., if you are identified as a contact), or (3) to monitor your progress during your isolation or quarantine.

Why is it important to answer the call from a contact tracer?

In accordance with the Community Pledge, we ask that you please answer the call of a Pingry certified contact tracer and answer any questions they may have to the best of your ability. Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing “contacts” who have been exposed to COVID-19 to prevent additional transmission. Identifying contacts and ensuring they do not interact with others is crucial to protecting our community from further spread. Contact tracers can also help guide you in your next steps and ensure you have the support you need. Please note that you will receive more information from your local health department for additional contact tracing efforts. 

Can you define ‘quarantine’ and ‘isolation’?

“Isolation” occurs when an individual is identified as COVID-19 positive (including confirmed positive, presumed positive and potentially positive) and helps minimize potential community transmission. Individuals in isolation will need to remain at home for a minimum of 10 days, starting on the date of sample collection and/or symptom presentation. Per CDC guidelines, in addition to the 10 day minimum, an individual must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms must be improving for an individual to leave isolation.

“Quarantine” applies to individuals identified as having had close contact with a case (i.e., within 6 feet for 15 or more cumulative minutes during a 24-hour period) and also helps minimize potential community transmission. The quarantine period is a mandatory 14 days since the last contact with a case, meaning that quarantines and isolations occurring in the same household may prolong the quarantine period.

However, anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and who meets the following criteria (as per CDC guidelines) does NOT need to quarantine:
       Had COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months AND
       Has recovered AND
       Remains without COVID-19 symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath)

What is the difference between the terms confirmed positive, presumed positive, and potentially positive?

A confirmed positive COVID-19 case is one in which a person has been tested and yielded a laboratory positive result for COVID-19.
 
A presumed positive diagnosis is when an individual is feeling symptoms of COVID-19 and has had close contact with someone confirmed positive with COVID-19.
 
A potentially positive individual is someone who has been identified as one of two people in a potentially positive pair as a result of Pingry’s weekly COVID-19 testing. Anyone who receives notification that they are in a potentially positive pair is encouraged to submit testing results from an independent PCR test administered within 48 hours in order to clear their isolation status, return to campus, and Pingry related activities.