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29 Nov 22 117 0 0

Students Helping Students During COVID-19: University Contact-Tracing Program

Cool Story - Students Helping Students During COVID-19: University Contact-Tracing Program

Not just in healthcare environments are measures to prevent infection required. Universities had to identify and quarantine students who had been exposed to COVID-19 when the world collapsed. Epidemiologists at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) created and executed a cutting-edge contact-tracing method that decreased COVID-19 exposures and illnesses on campus in the academic year 2020–2021. In contrast to what other institutions and colleges have done, UIC decided to hire students to staff the COVID-19 Contact Tracing & Epidemiology Program (CCTEP).

Jocelyn Vaughn, MS, MA, research data scientist at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health and one of the study's lead authors, was interviewed by Infection Control Today® (ICT®) to learn more about the program.

According to Vaughn, the CCTEP's effectiveness depends on having the right personnel. The institution could have relied on the Chicago Department of Public Health, a decision made by many other universities, to contact and locate our students and staff. As an alternative, we decided to create an indigenous contact tracing program and staff it with students. We selected pupils for a handful of primary factors. First, they were born and raised in UIC. We anticipated that students would make up the majority of the population we served, and we believed that [the students working in the program] would be especially well-positioned to sympathize with the individuals they were speaking to on the other line, as well as promote good public health behavior and education. 

Leah Kelemen, a graduate student in the College of Nursing who is currently a contact tracer for the program, and Chloe Edmiston, a recent epidemiology/biostatistics graduate of the UIC School of Public Health who is currently the full-time supervisor of the CCTEP call center, were also interviewed by ICT®.

Edmiston told ICT® that the pushback against lockdown measures and their origin startled her the most about working with CCTEP. "It surprised me how much of the backlash was motivated by fear...by a lack of knowledge and accessibility regarding COVID-19 and the methods required to halt transmission.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have "excellent knowledge about COVID-19," according to Edmiston, the folks providing the information are "somewhat unreachable for people" and distant. Because they had "someone on the phone who can guide you through all of the reasons for the guidance," UIC's CCTEP was so successful.

One advantage of the program, according to Kelemen, is that she has "become more compassionate and conscious of the predicament of my classmates... It's been great to empower students. [To] help them understand that by doing things that might initially seem uncomfortable, like staying home or isolating from their family, which is a big ask, [that] they're saving lives, even though those lives might be from people they don't personally know, like the person who sits next to you in class [who] you never speak to or someone who sat in your study group.

The above article is selected by CoolDeeds.org. The information and the assets belong to their respective owners (original link).


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