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Unified School District of De Pere using QR codes to help with Covid-19 contact tracing

Unified School District of De Pere using QR codes for contact tracing
Posted at 1:56 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 06:38:54-05

DE PERE (NBC 26) — One area school district is using new ways to use technology when in comes to Covid-19 contact tracing.

“It ranged from just having a teacher record what seat every student was in to having a teacher doing it digitally,” said Joseph Connelly, Data and Assessment Specialist for the Unified School District of De Pere.

The Unified School District of De Pere is utilizing quick response (QR) codes.

"Its nice to see a quick easy technology," said Eliza Andrews, parent of a sophomore at De Pere High School.

You might have seen them out at restaurants as an alternative way to access a menu digitally on a phone.

The district says the QR code is using the same idea, but is aimed to gather more information on where a student is seated.

“We wanted to create a system where it was quick for us to see who the students were in contact with. It was most importantly accurate so when we had to go through that process we were pulling the right kids and doing it quickly," said Roger Allen, assistant principal at De Pere High School.

As of now it’s being used for only middle and high school students as their schedule has them moving around from classroom to classroom during the school day.

“If you have a student going to six or seven classes throughout the day. Finding a record of where that student was daunting so we wanted to make sure it was digital and easy as possible," Connelly said. “When you have students scan in that’s something that can be done quickly at the beginning of the hour. It only takes 20 or 30 seconds for the students to scan in versus the three or four minutes for the teacher to manually type in where everybody is. We are really geared towards saving time, saving that instructional time. We really want to preserve that."

The high school assistant principal shares that they just went back to in-person learning five days a week last Monday.

“I’m really excited that the kids are back in school and if the QR codes help our kids stay safer that’s the most important," Andrews said.

School officials said this was a way to help make things easier in determining who needs to be quarantined in case a student does test positive for Covid-19.

“We are just in week two right now of the using the QR codes,” Allen said.

While there has been a learning curve with the system he said it has been working effectively.

“Honestly, it’s going better than I thought it would,” Allen said.

Andrews, a mother of a high schooler shares how her son reacted to the new technology.

“I think they’re so technological savvy that they’re fine with it. Now me, I don’t know if I would get as quickly as they do. They’re fine with it," Andrews said.

Allen shares that this idea came from one of their social studies teachers who got heard about it from a friend at a school in Florida.