Triad school district to hire its own contact tracers

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Triad school district is hiring its own contact tracers.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools leaders revealed at Tuesday night’s board meeting they’ve started the search.

They’re the only school district in the Piedmont doing this independently of the health department.

Right now the district is holding interviews to fill two contact tracing positions. The team will work alongside school nurses to manage and facilitate COVID-19 tracing in your child’s school.

“We hope to select candidates by the end of the week if not early next week so that’s an active process, with the intent on hiring them as quickly as possible,” said Jennifer Corso, school health nurse supervisor.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is using CARES Act funding to pay for the new positions.

A school spokesperson tells FOX8 the money will cover the salaries through June.

Corso says the two tracers will work with school nurses and nurse extenders, who will also conduct contact tracing.

“For the nurse extenders, those are the agency nurses that Ms. McManus spoke of, they are already in schools. They already have school assignments,” Corso said.

Nineteen of them have been placed. The district budgeted for 20.

Teacher Tamela Payne, who also has a son in fifth grade, misses her students but has a lot of questions about what returning to school will look like — especially with independent contact tracers.

“Let us know what’s going on because I’m a parent and a teacher and I’m choosing remote for my son because it’s not transparent right now,” said Payne, an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Wiley Middle School. “We want to see our kids, we want to be interactive with the kids.”

The district hopes to have its new tracers trained and ready to go within the next two weeks.

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