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Here's how Guilford County Schools tracks and reports COVID-19 cases

Many parents have questioned why they're not informed every time a student, or staff member, tests positive.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — If you're a Guilford County Schools student, parent, or staff member, chances are, you've been to this website - displaying the COVID-19 dashboards, for both students and staff members. 

The charts and map detail the number of active coronavirus cases across the district. You can also look back on past cases, verified by the district and health department. Other school systems, like Winston-Salem/Forsyth and Alamance Burlington, have similar dashboards.

Many parents have questioned why they're not informed every time a student or staff member tests positive.

"Because contact tracing is a private process, we do not communicate every time somebody in a school, whether a student or staff member, tests positive, " said Dr. Nora Carr, Guilford County Schools Chief of Staff to the Board of Education on Tuesday. 

So, who is notified directly?

"The first people that are notified are those who are potentially exposed, through the contact tracing process," she said, "So if you are potentially exposed, if you are considered a close contact, you will be notified by public health."

The CDC defines "close contact" as someone within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period. While that likely wouldn't include an entire class or school, mass notification isn't out of the question. 

"If there is a cluster, if there are five or more epidemiologically linked cases, or if the impact is otherwise widespread, we then communicate with the entire school and staff and parents, and we've only had one situation of that nature thus far," Dr. Carr said Tuesday.