How One College Enacted a Contact Tracing Protocol for COVID-19

by Jacob Girard on June 17, 2020

As public sector and higher education organizations plan to send their workforces back to the office post-pandemic, many safety precautions will have to be taken into consideration to mitigate the risk for employees. In particular, conceding that COVID-19 is likely not going away -- at least not completely -- means that organizations may have to step in when local health departments are unable to do so. Automation of these processes can help reduce the danger of disease-spreading while also tracking crucial information that impacts the safety and health of the entire organization. Among the new processes organizations will need to introduce, contact tracing ranks high on the list.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is the systematic identification of persons who have come into close contact[i] with a confirmed case of COVID-19[ii]. In Massachusetts, the task of contact tracing was initially conducted by the state or local Departments of Public Health, but with an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases being reported, some organizations have been required to conduct this protocol themselves.

NEOGOV customer Holyoke Community College (HCC) is one such organization. Dean of Human Resources Clara Elliott, working from the process and document provided by College System’s Legal Council, helped develop an innovative approach to COVID-19 Contact Tracing using the form builder and routing workflows available in eForms. HCC’s goal was to create a centralized, automated process that could be accessed from the cloud and thereby conducted anywhere. 

The process enables the designated HR person (or Tracing Officer) to log into eForms, complete their custom built contact tracing form, and electronically route it to other stakeholders in the organization so they can take appropriate action. They can then run reporting that can be sent to their local health department.

This protocol is being used to track cases of staff, faculty and students, The form is designed to make it easy for the Tracing Officer to obtain all of the relevant information surrounding a confirmed case of COVID-19, record the close contacts of that confirmed case, and then ask those contacts for their respective information, including whether they have experienced symptoms. Completed forms are then automatically routed to the designated manager and other HR stakeholders responsible for playing a role in the process.

Ease of use for contact tracing reporting, data exports

All data stored in the system is encrypted in transport and at rest, and can be retrieved via an easy to use data export tool so it can be shared with the local agencies (like the Department of Public Health) who are required to report this information. Thanks to eForms, HCC can now shift their focus on the other mission critical priorities that need to be addressed, while trusting that their contact tracing protocol is safe, secure, and can be audited.

A free, customizable version of the form HCC developed is available for download to use as a template in your own public sector organization. Interested in learning more about how you can automate your contact tracing process using eForms? Book a demo. 

Get Contact Tracing Form

[i] Defined as (a) being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-10 case for a prolonged period of time (at least 15 minutes); or (b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-10 case (e.g., being coughed on).

[ii] Individuals who have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Jacob Girard

Jacob Girard is an Account Executive at NEOGOV. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Saint Michael's College and has spent close to a decade working with HR and Technology at NEOGOV. Contact: jgirard@neogov.com