New Brunswick Tribune

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Parents are unhappy with the school’s new contact tracing policy

Key takeaways:

  • Some parents are frustrated and perplexed by the contact tracing process in New Brunswick schools.
  • Jones finds that vague, and she claims that parents have resorted to informing each other of positive test results, jeopardizing their child’s privacy.

The contact tracing process in New Brunswick’s schools has left some parents frustrated and perplexed.

Erin Ellis, a Moncton mom with two school-aged children, said she didn’t hear from Public Health until a week after her child was diagnosed with COVID-19.

She claimed that they only inquired about her child’s contacts for two days before she tested positive and that she was given conflicting instructions on how to proceed.

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On Thursday evening, Haley Jones, an Oromocto mother of three, received an email from her children’s school’s principal informing her that, going forward, all students in K-8 schools “would be required to participate in daily rapid testing when there is a confirmed Covid-19 case at the school.” Close contacts will not be notified exclusively, as in the past.”

This means that if anyone in the school system, including a parent, reports a positive result to Public Health, all students will be tested as soon as possible.

There will no longer be any additional context, such as the person’s grade or class or whether or not they are a student.

Jones finds that vague, and she claims that parents have resorted to informing each other of positive test results, jeopardizing their child’s privacy.

As a result, a whisper network has formed, where parents communicate through unofficial channels.

“I think that’s especially concerning because, due to privacy concerns, we haven’t been receiving these contact-tracing notifications,” she said in a Zoom interview on Friday.

Some New Brunswick parents are unhappy with the school's new contact tracing policy.
Some New Brunswick parents are unhappy with the school’s new contact tracing policy. Image from Yahoo

“No one wants their child to be the one to start a school outbreak.” I’d be concerned that my children would be bullied.”

She also expressed concern about being notified only if she was in the right social circles.

“It appears that you don’t get to know your school community if you’re not in the know.”

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development stated to Global News on Friday afternoon, clarifying that “contact tracing efforts no longer focus on individual classes, as was previously the case with K-8 grade levels.” 

This change will aid in the management of the risk of transmission in the school community, particularly among age groups with low vaccination rates.”

However, contact tracing will continue in high schools.

Source: Global News

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