Preuss Takes Measures to Prevent COVID-19 Outbreaks

To combat COVID-19 cases on campus, Preuss has taken measures to keep students and staff safe. These measures include Parentsquare notifications, Symptom screeners, On-site testing, metal boxes, and a contact-tracing team.

Since the first week of school, notifications have been sent out left and right via Parent Square. These notifications come in different varieties. General alerts inform all parents about recent cases detected on campus. Specific alerts get sent to parents with students infected with COVID-19. These notifications alert parents that their student contracted the virus and advise that they remain in quarantine for up to two weeks.

Every day before and after school, unvaccinated students get tested for COVID-19 to ensure they have not contracted the virus. The time that a student gets quarantined is also longer if they are unvaccinated, with a period of two weeks before they can return to campus. The team interviews people that were close to the infected person, in which they are told to stay home for health precautions. With this information, specific Parent Square messages are sent to parents to inform them to keep their exposed students in quarantine.

Another measure used to prevent cases has been through symptom screeners. Students fill out a required survey asking for potential symptoms or recent exposure to the virus every day before reaching campus.

One of the most significant ways of keeping students safe has been through metal boxes located on the basketball courts and near the school entrance.

The metal boxes connect to every bathroom on campus, science teacher, Ms. Petraglia explained, which means that the boxes connect to the wastewater from each bathroom. Wastewater samples get collected by UCSD for COVID-19 testing. If COVID is detected, bathroom users get informed about positive cases on campus. Not only do bathroom users get informed about their exposure to the virus, but Nurse Doherty, Principal Steitz, and Vice-Principal Watson are also informed. This procedure is also present at UCSD.

“They’re testing wastewater in the dorms, in the hospitals, and the different classroom facilities [for signs of COVID-19],” Ms. Petraglia explained.

Students must take precautions around the metal boxes such as not touching them, not sitting on them, or putting their lunches on top of them. These precautions ensure that students don’t potentially get exposed to the virus.

Ms. Petraglia explains that it is necessary to continue reminding students to socially and physically distance themselves, use masks, wash their hands before and after eating, and use hand sanitizer. Ms. Petraglia also advises students that are skeptical of the virus to continue following school protocol.

Alongside taking safety precautions, these safety measures will help maintain a safe environment on campus by informing everyone about COVID-19 exposures. These measures will also help ensure that students continue learning inside the classroom instead of zoom calls.