Poplar Bluff School District hires contact tracers

Taking action to track coronavirus in Butler Co.

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - The Butler County Health Department and the Poplar Bluff School District are taking action to curb an increase in coronavirus cases.

“We are all figuring this out as we go. It’s been a process, not an easy one by any stretch,” Scott Dill said.

Poplar Bluff Superintendent Scott Dill said his staff won’t have to double up on their job duties anymore.

“As opposed of doing the job we hired them for, they’ve been locked down pretty much exclusively doing contact tracing,” Dill said.

Since his head nurse asked for help, the district is now hiring up to three contact tracers. As of last week, the school reported 27 active cases out of the districts population of 6,000.

“We’re utilizing those federal relief funds and these will be temporary positions hopefully and we’ll get these people in and put them to work,” Dill said.

It doesn’t just help the school’s staff, but the health department too.

“This helps us tremendously meaning when they do the contact tracing they are in the school, they have seating charts, they know where these kids are sitting for lunch,” Amanda Fitzwater said.

Amanda Fitzwater is the operations director at the Butler County Health Department. She said it’s working closely with the school district.

“It’s our school, it’s our kids, we are trying to keep these kids in school,” Fitzwater said.

She also said having four contact tracers at the health department helps get notifications out faster to those who may have been exposed.

“Those four are getting cases every single day so they’re working tremendous hours as well,” Fitzwater said.

“My people are all giving everything they’ve got every single day, I think our patrons are appreciative of the fact that we are open and we’re trying to meet the needs educationally, emotionally of our kids,” Dill said.

The contact tracer positions will be filled in November.

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