WFPS to reevaluate close contact requirements, NDDoH not providing letters to those exposed to COVID-19

The district is relying on health department notifications and avoiding contact tracing
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:16 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Some West Fargo parents are concerned with the way the school district is keeping them informed on who has COVID-19.

The district is relying on health department notifications and avoiding contact tracing, which is what the CDC says is an effective strategy to reduce COVID-19 transmission in schools.

“I want more transparency.” said one West Fargo mother of 2.

The mom, who didn’t want to be identified, contacted our whistleblower hotline after she said she tried for weeks to get answers from the district over the lack of contact tracing.

“It’s just hard getting clear answers from the school board, and the superintendent about what is being done in the schools.” said the mother.

She said the school told her the North Dakota Department of Health will send letters to those in close contact with someone positive for COVID-19. But, she later found out that’s not the case.

“They are not sending out letters to close contacts, and they are only contacting family members with positive cases,” the mom said, “She just said the system is just too overwhelmed right now so they aren’t able to provide these letters.”

In an email, West Fargo school officials indicated the district has asked the department of health to confirm this. If it’s true, they will have to reevaluate the current requirements.

“West Fargo has said that we have to have a letter to have an excused absence to quarantine our kids... It’s kind of scary being in this limbo when our kids are already in school.” said the mom.

Department of health officials confirmed they are not providing close contact tracing for those in the West Fargo school district. This means official letters of close contact will not be sent to parents who want to quarantine their kids.

“We feel like we have been put in a position where we can’t make that personal decision to do that without risking our kids’ education and potentially risking our kids being truant.” said the mom.

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