Harper College launches COVID-19 Contact Tracers course

Harper College is offering a free, online COVID-19 Contact Tracing course to help meet the anticipated need for contact tracers in the state of Illinois.

This 10-hour course runs July 13 to August 7 and will cover aspects of contact tracing including how the coronavirus is spread, an overview of the contact tracing role, tracking and investigating cases, communications, and a review of the state’s available social and health resources. The course is grounded in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention training recommendations and will be led by Dr. Kim Chavis, dean of health careers.

Contact tracers are responsible for interviewing those who test positive for COVID-19 and learning about their recent contact with family, friends, coworkers, commuters and classmates during the infectious period of disease. Contact tracers also share information about self-isolation and available support resources.

“Contact tracing is an important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Cristina Willard, manager of continuing professional education at Harper. “Hiring is currently underway to meet the demand of contact tracers in Illinois, and it’s a key part of Governor Pritzker’s recovery plan for the state.”

In June, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin encouraged Illinois community colleges to organize training courses for contact tracers, saying nearly 4,000 contact tracers are projected to be needed in Illinois alone to support local health departments in expanding contact tracing programming.

“As Illinois and our country take the first steps to safely reopen, it is apparent that contact tracing is an essential part of identifying and isolating patients and mitigating the potential for additional spikes of this deadly virus until we find a vaccine,” Senator Durbin said in a news release.

Harper’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing course awards students a digital badge and certificate upon successful completion. To register, visit harpercollege.edu/pro or call 847.925.6374.

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