Admin Responds to Criticism over Covid Notification System


Credit: Maxwell Creager-Roberts

Administration is still working on the best way to notify students and families about Covid exposures.

Brian O'Dea, Managing Editor

On Monday afternoon, the Western administration sent out multiple emails to certain groups of people to inform them about positive Covid tests in the school community. 

However, some families who received the emails were concerned about the lack of specificity in them, and some students were frustrated because they were not informed about the possible exposure at school.

The school was informed earlier on the morning of the 22nd about students who tested positive and conducted the subsequent contact tracing to notify anyone who might have been in close contact with them. 

A close contact as defined by the CDC is someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period.

As expected, no names were given out to protect the privacy of the individuals.

One email was sent directly to the sports team where the exposure came from. Due to protocols the team has put in place, only some of the team was exposed and is currently in quarantine. A different email was sent to families of students who had a class with the student, however, these were somewhat cryptic and if a family has more than one student at the school, the letter did not specify which one was in contact. A third email went out only to community members who signed up for email notifications.

The school is still working on ways to improve the handling of this situation after some people wanted more clarity about how the communications are handled. In the future, emails to families with multiple students will specify which student was in class with the student who tested positive. 

Associate Principal Reed Gillespie also said in an email that the school is hoping to be more transparent with students going forward.

“We are looking into ways to communicate appropriately with students as the global messaging system is not linked with student accounts,” said Gillespie.