Public health officials and the Nebraska Department of Education have been at loggerheads with Alliance Public Schools over cooperation for COVID-19 contact tracing.
Last week, PPHD Director Kim Engel discussed an email obtained from the Alliance Board of Education in which she said they had instructed school staff not to provide seating charts, class rosters or allow staff or student interviews by contact tracing workers.
On Friday, State Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt said his department was aware of the situation, and sought improved cooperation when reaching out the previous day to school board members. “We’ve got to get to a level of compliance with those types of activities, otherwise we’re going to have to step in and do a little bit more and put some other requirements on the school,” said Blomstedt. “We may have other circumstances where we run into a few board members here or there, a few community members here or there, certainly even parents and otherwise, my main message is, everywhere you have to actually get into line and be able to do that.”
In a statement to KNEB News, APS Board President Tim Kollars said the school administrators and staff have been instructed to cooperate fully during contact tracing, including interviews with positive case subjects, access to buildings if needed and the ability to contact staff for any necessary information.
Kollars says the change was made due to multiple quarantine orders being changed or overturned due to inaccurate information after positive cases were not interviewed prior to the issuance of quarantine orders.