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With Park City schools, spread the word and not the virus

Guest Editorial

Call to Action: If you or someone in your household tests
positive for Covid-19, pick up the phone and spread the word.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

Contact tracing during the widening spread of Covid-19 is hard,
if not impossible at this point.

If you test positive, remember who you could have exposed in the last week or so,then call and inform them so they can get tested. They also need
to look out for signs and symptoms.

If your child (a PCSD student) tests positive, remember who your child could have exposed in the last week or so, then call in inform them so they can start looking for signs and symptoms. Also, call your PCSD school secretary.

All positive test results automatically get shared with the
Summit County Health Department, according to a nurse at one
of our testing sites. Summit County reports it to Utah’s
Department of Health. Your positive case becomes a number entered into county and state systems and third-party
dashboards.

On August 24, 2020, PCSD sent an email to district parents
announcing new healthAttend software, an attendance
portal which can also help track Covid-19 cases. It read:
‘Park City School District is implementing new tools to
help ease communication between parents and the
schools regarding absence reporting and potential
symptom monitoring from home. If your student will be
out of school, we ask that you use our online system to
report their absence(s). This greatly alleviates the strain
on front office staff during critical times of the morning
routine and enables us to focus our attention on COVID
precautions and getting your child safely to class. It also
helps our nurses monitor symptoms and cases, in an effort
to mitigate potential illness outbreaks.’

In reality, healthAttend is a stand-alone database that PCSD
nurses use to enter Covid-19 cases. Is not ready for parents
quite yet. HealthAttend became a company just one month
before PCSD decided to adopt its graphic database. There
is no interface between healthAttend and PCSD. Parents
still have to call and email school Attendance Secretaries
to report an absence or illness, then talk to the school
nurse to discuss and confirm a Covid-19 positive case.
According to one of the district’s Attendance Secretaries,
‘HealthAttend is an external program that does not link to
our school software therefore requiring manual entry.’

After a school nurse confirms the case, he/she enters it into
healthAttend. Late each night, the healthAttend system
gets refreshed, so data entered today is displayed tomorrow
for most people. District administrators have also
confirmed this information and that healthAttend is
stand-alone and displays only an aggregate of
school-entered numbers. After all that, the school
administration decides who to email about quarantining
other students who were in contact with your child during
school hours.

PCSD protocol

Recently, a PCSD student tested positive.
The parent entered the information into healthAttend, but
PCSD did not see that entry. The parent called the school
right away, but it was on a Sunday. By the time the school
applied protocols and procedures and finished notifying
parents whose kids were exposed during unmasked time
together, it was late on that Monday afternoon after
exposed students were back in school, possibly spreading
this virus in classrooms and hallways.

Timely notification and action is what can prevent viral spread.

Have school protocols changed?

Yes. There will be no more quarantine unless unmasked
exposure happens.

PCSD changes protocols as often as the state changes them.

According to the state as of 12/3/20, students may return to
school before 14 days of quarantine only if ALL three
criteria below are met:

  1. The school verifies the person who was exposed and the
    person who tested positive were both wearing a face mask
    as defined by the State Public Health Order on masks in
    schools. (Our student athletes were exposed without
    masks.)
  2. The person who was exposed tests negative for
    COVID-19 at least 7 days after the last day of exposure.
  3. The person who was exposed does not have symptoms of
    COVID-19.

On 12/3/20, Dr. Gildea issued a letter to teachers stating:
‘…With Mask to Mask contact, there will be 0 school
based quarantine – effective immediately – other than
lunchtime contact. The social distance in a classroom is
not a factor in whether or not to quarantine re: seating
chart. So, the only contact tracing schools will be doing is
potential lunchtime or school activity based exposure….If
our athletes practice WITH masks, there is 0 quarantine for
team based exposure.’

Where can I find real Covid-19 case counts?

Case counts reported at the state, county, and school district
levels vary because of the different procedures and timelines for notification. You can find PCSD case counts at both the state
and county level. Often they report higher numbers than PCSD.
This varies. Word of mouth spreads faster than computer data in
the case of PCSD. Teachers may have a more accurate count
than healthAttend given their proximity to information in the
school.

State Dashboard
https://coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts/

Summit County Dashboard
https://summitcountyhealth.org/dashboard/

PCSD healthAttend Dashboard
https://www.healthattend.com/pcsd-dashboard

It’s up to friends and community to call each other, through
word of mouth, if we want to notify and learn quickly about
Covid-19 cases.

Call everyone you know who may have been exposed—the
old-fashioned way! Post it on social media the new-fashioned
way! There’s no shame in it. This is a public health concern. To
meet the challenge of not spreading this virus, a phone call is
quicker than entering data into a void and hoping it goes

somewhere. It’s faster than a PCSD email. The most
responsible party is YOU.

Let’s pick up the phone, reach out to friends, and spread the
word, not the virus! Love our community.

Comments

21 Comments

Avatar
Trip Pettymore

We live in a state with a wealth of tech and data companies, but it seems odd that HealthAttend springs out of the ground right when PCSD announces they need a dashboard to report Covid positives, quarantines, and absences within the schools. Curiously, the business address of this tech startup that PCSD contracted is the same as a company called TB Sunridge Advisers. The Park Record reported previously about the HealthAttend CEO, Matthew Tunney, who is also listed as TB Sunridge’s CEO. A little use of Google and one can find that Mr. Tunney has been a major donor to PCEF, giving the appearance that perhaps the contracting with HealthAttend, a brand new company whose ONLY client is PCSD, seems like another no-bid, inside job.

Avatar
SuzySunshine

Wait, zero quarantine? That certainly doesn’t meet the requirements set by the state Department of Health. Thanks for this, yes word of mouth within our community seems to be the most reliable source.

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anonymous

I’ve requested information from Dr Bullough regarding Cycle Threshold (CT) settings for PCR tests county wide. I’ve also noted that every PCR test result should include CT setting for the test, which Gov Desantis has mandated in FL. According to Dr. Fauci, CT set above 32 is known to produce high-rate of false positives. Most labs in US are reported to set CT between 37 & 40. If this is the case, new case counts are highly suspect and likely exaggerated. We need full transparency to accurately determine where we are in the pandemic cycle, and how the county is managing it. The same applies statewide. COVID-19 is contributing to high levels of fear and anxiety in our community. Much of which could be alleviated with access to complete and accurate data.

Avatar
James

While your investigative skills far exceed those of your average Park Record reporter, Kristin, your article contains many holes that paint a very misguided picture. And, Josh, you are not helping by providing a forum for damaging articles that clearly aren’t fact checked in the least.

But, at least Kristin’s article provided Trip a little ammunition for hatching PC’s latest conspiracy theory. I sure hope Matt doesn’t spend the $1 his shadow company was paid in the no-bid contract in one place!

Avatar
Parkrag

James-

First, I moderate every comment to remove all the spam and crap that bots push through. Note, I never edit a comment, as that would make be liable for the comment. If it adds value to the conversation, I post it. In the case of your comment and three others that came in last night, I didn’t review it until this morning. So, sorry for the delay.

In the case of this guest editorial, did you read it? Basically it was saying: Covid is challenging, contract tracing is hard, PCSD is changing how their rules on quarantining, Health Attend is a stand alone system, it creates double work, you can get more updated numbers at local government sites, and if you get sick reach out to everyone personally and don’t depend on the school system to do it for you. That’s doesn’t seem divisive to me. It seems responsible to let people know what is going on.

My goal here at the Park Rag is to give a voice to those who may not have it, on matters that are important, and may not see the light of day otherwise. Did you see anything about the letter Dr. Gildea sent to teachers about no more quarantines if masks are worn in the Park Record? Do you think that’s important info? I do. I think other parents do. I’m glad someone wanted to write a story about it.

As for Health Attend, as you point out, they are charging $1 for their service. However, they do appear to be trying to build a business. They are getting a benefit from a school system using their software. Are there better businesses out there that may be better than Health Attend? I don’t know. I do know that I contacted Dr Gildea on the first day Health Attend started about a security issue with Health Attend. To me it looked like they had made a fundamental mistake in their sign up process that risked leaking student names, birthdates, etc. I never mentioned it to anyone other than to Dr. Gildea and I think she notified them. They were using a website builder and Zoho Analytics for everything I saw on the site. It doesn’t appear integrated into our school system. So, I think it’s fair to ask if there is something better out there.

All that said, I hope Health Attend, as a local Park City Software company, is able to succeed. We need more of those.

I also think the guest editorial was fair and it provided information. It wasn’t a hit piece. Is it 100% accurate? Is the Park Record 100% accurate or even KPCW?

If you’d like to write a counter article attacking the facts in this article, I would be happy to post it. I would need your full, and real name though.

Avatar
PC Teacher

Thanks for spreading the word. Have parents been notified that PCSD is no longer following current CDC or State quarantine guidelines?

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Riley

Parents haven’t gotten anything about this.

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Think

Trip, wow! We need more accountability here to the public that pays these PCSD people. It’s not the first time PCEF’s personal relationships precluded RFPs and valid vetting. What we get is crap software like Boarddocs, healthAttend, coding software for kids, etc. There’s a wide array of nonsensical PCSD purchases that make sense when you look behind the curtain and see the relationships involved.

Avatar
Trip Pettymore

James (above) seems to have intimate knowledge of the situation. Perhaps we should ask him for accountability? He seems to be on a first name familiar basis with Mr. Matthew Tunney, or “Matt” as he calls him. Perhaps someone could reveal to the public the nature of the $1 contract, and in which public meeting it was awarded. Of course, if it was truly only a $1 contract, I would presume Mr. Tunney, or Matt, would not go out and spend it in one place, as James has suggested. He would most likely invest it. As to the investigative journalism skills of the average Park Record reporter, this almost seems like an invitation for the above-average investigative reporters at the Park Record to maybe take a look at the substance of this conversation.

Avatar
Beach comber

Has PCSD responded? I’m curious since PCSD usually sends a formal response regarding your articles

Avatar
Parkrag

I haven’t heard anything from them and honestly don’t expect any responses. They have a lot of work to do and this is just a blog. But it is nice when they do. I did ask to see a copy of the email from the author of the editorial and I believe it is accurate. So, there may not really be anything to respond to on the contact tracing. Maybe it is what it is. Likewise, their view could be that there are few cases in our schools (which does seem to be true) and that this just makes sense.

I’m not sure.

Avatar
Science Guy

Thank you for posting this editorial. I wondered why the school system kept calling me about absences after I used the HealthAttend portal. This explains a lot. So basically we gave our kid’s information to a guy named “Matt?” That’s reassuring. Is anybody else tired of being used as guinea pigs? PCSD is good advertising for private schools no matter how many fancy computers they hand out.

Avatar
Walt

https://www.parkrecord.com/news/park-city-school-district-unveils-a-new-covid-data-visualization-tool-the-brainchild-of-a-theoretical-physicist-and-a-school-nurse/

Might be worth a quick read. I don’t think there’s anything illegal or unethical happening, just a parent and district nurse trying to solve a problem.

Avatar
Parkrag

Anon-

On your comment “They didn’t solve it…” If you want to resubmit it without the people’s names at the end, I am happy to approve it. I am trying hard to limit calling out people’s names when it is speculative or just venting. I don’t always get it right but I am trying to find ways to limit that.

Thanks

Avatar
PC Teacher

PCSD teachers were notified via email Thursday 12/3 that PCSD was no longer going to quarantine direct mask-mask contact. The change was “effective immediately”. Current State and CDC guidelines do not support this change. The district said the change is based on future updates to the Utah School Manual. The manual has yet to be updated and parents have still not been notified. Concerns can be voiced at the upcoming PCSD School Board meeting on Tuesday 12/15 at 4:00 (public comment at 5:00). https://www.pcschools.us/school-board/meetings/

Avatar
Yussef

How do teachers feel about this? Students don’t wear masks while playing sports, eating, leaving the high school, and outside on the school grounds. We know cases aren’t being accurately reported based on he differences between what teachers know and what shows up on the district graphs. PCSD keeps praising itself, but there is no viable remote option that keeps online students actively learning like the students who attend in person. It’s show up and put up or leave. That’s the PCSD plan. How are teachers and students really doing? This article is right. Parents should call each other and their childrens teachers about cases. HealthAttend doesn’t work. It was a silly rollout to make people feel like PCSD was doing something about reporting and tracing when it’s not doing anything.

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Snowflake

You are correct, students don’t wear masks while playing sports, eating, leaving the high school, and outside on the school grounds. There is no way schools can contract trace or monitor what students do outside of school buildings. That’s why schools are safer places for students to be than many others. And yes, if your child tests positive and she or he went to a pool party with a bunch of friends, pick up a phone and call the families. PCSD does not monitor what your child and their friends do after school. Should they?

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Walt

Dude, the kids and teachers made it through an entire semester in person and everyone has been ok. The district has done lots of stuff wrong over the years (and right now) but the Covid response has been a home run so far.

Avatar
M.

The School Board did not respond tonight to a comment from Brad Asay, Pres. of the American Federation of Teachers Utah. He stated that the 15 or so PC teachers have expressed concerns about the new zero quarantine rule. He also asked the Board to reply to a letter they sent to the Board last October about safety concerns. Also, the Board did not take parent letters sent in advance for the public comment section through their secretary. This is the second time (I’m aware of) that parent concerns have not been read or addressed since the start of this school year after questions were sent in advance of the meeting.

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P.S.

As Brad Asay spoke, the Board President was seen visibly shaking his head, looking at his peers, and rubbing his eyes. It was disrespectful to Mr. Asay and the teachers he represented.

Avatar
Nigel

For anyone who hasn’t yet seen this, and in the interest of transparency go to minute 46 here:

https://video.pcschools.us/videos/video/11116/in/channel/78/


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