Friends Select Implements Contact Tracing Bracelets

Photo+courtesy+of+Peter+Ryan+%2721

Photo courtesy of Peter Ryan ’21

On February 1st, 2021, FSS Students returned to in-person school. Along with wearing masks, remaining six feet apart, being divided by plexiglass, sitting in assigned seats, and daily Ruvna forms, FSS added another safety protocol: contact tracing bracelets. 

Athletic Director Bill Klose was part of a group that orchestrated the implementation of contact tracing bracelets. The goal of the contact tracing bracelets “is to speed up and improve the process of finding out who a positive case has come in contact with,” he says, adding that “[the bracelets] allows more people to remain in the school if there is a positive case. Instead of quarantining full classrooms, we are able to find out who are actually close contacts with someone who has tested positive. In the case of a positive result before the addition of the bracelets, we may have had to quarantine 10-15 people because we could not take any chances but because of the bracelets we may only have to quarantine a few close contacts, so I think it will really help us keep more students in school at a time.”

Bill believes that the contact tracing bracelets will definitely be beneficial to the community. “I really hope the bracelets make our students feel safer, obviously that’s the goal of the bracelets, being able to provide advanced information that we otherwise wouldn’t have. I know it makes me and some other faculty feel safer because we have to come into the building.”  

He explains that the contact tracing bracelets do more than just contact trace. “Along with contact tracing, the bracelets allow us to see if people are coming too close to others for an extended period of time and maybe we would have to let that person know that they have to be better with distance. [the bracelets] also help us see if we need to change the organization of certain classrooms. If there are people too close together maybe we would have to rearrange that classroom. So they really help us keep safe in more than just one way.” 

Bill warns though, in order for these bracelets to work, people need to wear them correctly and at all times. “Everyone has to be wearing them for them to work. They have to be on your wrist or on a clip they cannot be in your pocket or in your backpack because then they might not be facing the right way and pick up the wrong information.”

Mia Cohen ‘21 says that the contact tracing bracelets are part of the reason she felt comfortable returning to in-person learning. “It wasn’t going back to Friends Select specifically that made me nervous — it was going back to a place with a large number of people that I’d be in close contact with that I couldn’t control. The contact tracing bracelets definitely make me feel more safe going back to school because it makes me feel like the school has thought of every detail.” 

Although the contact tracing bracelets play an important role in security at school, some students don’t feel any more comfortable than they did before. Noah Bonner-Monastra ‘23 feels that they haven’t changed his point of view. Although he feels that they are necessary, “[He] doesn’t really feel safer because all they can do is see who [he’s] come in contact with after the fact,” but still thinks “they are a good addition.”