Schools have opened across the United States, with many using a mix of in-person and virtual instruction. Depending on where you live, some preventive measures are in place for students and staff physically coming into school. Common measures include mandatory masks, temperature screening upon entry, social distancing, plexiglass dividers, and increased sanitation. Even with these precautions, COVID-19 spread within schools is regularly reported on in the news. And when the bell rings at the end of the day, infection can be brought back to the home.
Schools are challenging when it comes to infection spread. Students, instructors, and other staff are constantly intermingling. School buildings were not designed with infectious disease in mind, making social distancing and other preventive measures difficult to adhere to. Many of the physical plants are older and have HVAC challenges. In addition, children have been identified in some studies as effective COVID-19 spreaders [source needed], which compounds these other factors.
The CDC has published a wealth of resources for schools to consider. The guidance involves multiple layers of prevention for students and staff. At Enli, we’ve focused on the challenge of symptom screening. According to the CDC, “the purpose of symptom screening is to identify individuals who may have COVID-19 and exclude those individuals from a setting to reduce the risk of transmission to others.” The CDC also emphasizes the importance of home symptom screening for students, where parents or caregivers monitor and report signs of illness.
Enli has developed a virtual screening tool – COVID-19 Health Pass – designed to automate the symptom screening process. It is based on CDC guidelines and is currently being used by schools for screening instructors and other staff prior to entering facilities. Employees receive a text at set intervals with a link to complete a symptom check. Based on the response, employees are either cleared for work, or flagged for further evaluation. Cleared staff can display the Health Pass on their smart phone to minimize logjams at facility entrances. While universal symptom screening for students is not currently recommended by the CDC, daily home monitoring by parents or caregivers is strongly encouraged. Virtual screening tools can absolutely be used at home – before coming to school – and can support a more consistent, evidence-based screening process.
When it comes to an environment as chaotic and unpredictable as schools, the aim is risk reduction. Having a symptom screening tool in play will help support that goal.
Explore our COVID-19 Solutions:
- COVID-19 Health Pass – for school districts, clinics, nursing facilities, and other organizations seeking to virtually screen individuals for COVID-19 symptoms.
- COVID-19 Patient Monitoring – for provider organizations needing to manage and track COVID-19 cases.
- COVID-19 HCP Exposure Tracking – for health systems needing to track the exposure of medical staff that are exposed to COVID-19 cases.