Department of Defense Education Activity

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Practices

February 16, 2022

Our military command and public health partners are working to implement more streamlined COVID-19 contact tracing practices. Implementation may vary from community to community dependent upon the logistics involved and public health resources available at each installation. Contact tracing is determined by the military senior responsible officer in each community, based upon CDC and host nation guidance.

According to our partners at military public health, these changes are due to three primary factors:

  1. COVID-19 Mitigation Protocols: Due to the success of the protocols DoDEA has implemented, minimal evidence of COVID-19 transmission has been observed in our schools.
  2. Less Severe Variant: The Omicron variant has shown itself to be less virulent than its predecessors and has resulted in minimal hospitalizations in our communities.
  3. Vaccine Availability: COVID-19 vaccines have been universally available to all of our K-12 (5 years and older) students since the beginning of the school year. While we continue to recommend that all our students take advantage of this availability, the COVID-19 vaccine is not currently required to attend DoDEA schools.

One immediate change will be to the COVID-19 positive case notification process. To this point, our schools have been sending notification letters to all school parents any time there has been a new positive case associated with that school. These letters were often necessary because of school or classroom closures associated with the contact tracing process. While our schools will continue to provide necessary COVID-19 information and updates to our families, we are discontinuing the universal use of notification letters.

I would also like to take this opportunity to address those who have asked for us to end the requirement for universal indoor mask use in our schools. While we would like nothing more than a return to pre-pandemic school operations, we are not yet at the point where that is the appropriate course of action. According to our partners at military public health, the primary reason our schools have been able to maintain in-person instruction for the vast majority of the pandemic is because of the COVID-19 Operations Guidelines and Protocols we established at the beginning of the school year. Neither the CDC nor our partners at military public health have yet to recommend any changes to these measures. Until they do, we will continue to implement the health and safety protocols that have allowed for our success.

Our principals and teachers will continue to do their best to include mask breaks and unmasked outdoor time for our students as often as weather and spacing allows. It is DoDEA’s top priority to provide a safe and healthy environment for our staff and students to teach and learn. We will continue to work with our military command and public health partners to monitor the situation and will make changes as appropriate.

For more information please visit our page regarding DoDEA’s COVID-19 Operations Guidelines and Protocols.

Thank you for your continued support during this uniquely challenging time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michelle Howard-Brahaney
DoDEA-Europe Director for Student Excellence