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'We share a unified goal' | Union County Public Schools, county health department come to agreement on how to approach contact tracing

As part of the agreement, the county health department and school district will share the responsibility of contact tracing.

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — The Union County Public Health department and Union County Public Schools have come to an agreement on how to identify and exclude students and staff with COVID-19 as well as identifying close contacts in response.

The agreement came Wednesday afternoon, just days after the school district and county health director exchanged letters regarding COVID-19 protocols.

RELATED: Union County Public Schools superintendent responds to local health department's letter about COVID-19 protocols

As part of the agreement, the county health department and school district will share the responsibility of contact tracing: the district will provide "sufficient" information on likely close contacts of positive cases in the classroom to the health department, which will then provide isolation and quarantine information to students and staff.

The school district will deem someone as a "reasonably likely" close contact if they were seated within six feet of a COVID-positive person. The county will have the final say over which students and staff are instructed to quarantine. 

The county will also provide the district with a list of individuals identified for isolation or quarantine that need to be excluded from district facilities. From there, the school district will ensure that individuals under quarantine do not enter district facilities. 

The county has agreed to notify UCPS of all positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff when the county is given confirmation of a case from a source other than the district, and the district has agreed to notify the county when confirming cases from a source other than the county.  

The Union County Manager Mark Watson and UCPS Superintendent Andrew Houlihan signed the memorandum of understanding, which outlines shared responsibilities for contact tracing and notifying students and staff impacted by COVID-19. 

"We share a unified goal to protect students, families, and the broader Union County community and look forward to our work together," Union County and UCPS said in a joint press release. 

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