Contact Tracing Dispute Between Alliance School Board And PPHD Resolved

Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomsted has apparently helped resolve a dispute between the Alliance Public Schools and the Panhandle Public Health District over the school district’s response to COVID-19 contact tracing.

      PPHD Director Kim Engle says the Alliance school board had told school staff not to provide workers doing contact tracing with class rosters or seating charts or to allow staff or student interviews with them.

       Blomstedt says he reached out to the school board on Thursday to explain the importance of cooperating with the contact tracers and emphasized that if there wasn’t a level of compliance, the state would step in with new requirements on the district.

      Blomstedt says there have been objections to the contact tracing process by a few school board members, parents, and community members elsewhere and that he gave them the same message. 

      Alliance school board President Tim Kollars issued a statement to KNEB News saying administrators and staff have been told to cooperate fully during contact tracing, including interviews with positive cases, access to buildings, and contacting staff for any necessary information.

      Kollars said the change in the board’s position was a response 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.