College of DuPage launches contact tracer training program to track spread of COVID-19
Responding to the call for trained workers to help limit the spread of COVID-19, College of DuPage is launching a Contact Tracer Training program. Offered through COD's Continuing Education Department and in consultation with the DuPage County Health Department, the four-week online course will train participants to connect with individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and identify those with whom they have come into contact.
COD Assistant Vice President of Economic Development and Dean of Continuing Education and Public Services Joe Cassidy said the Centers for Disease Control emphasizes that contact tracing is key to slowing or stopping the spread of COVID-19 without large-scale shutdowns.
"We see it as our duty to develop programs and services to do our part in slowing this virus," he said. "We are happy to work with full-time faculty and DuPage County Health Department staff to bring this critically needed program forward this June."
Aligned with CDC training guidelines, the four-module course will focus on epidemiology; signs and symptoms; why contact tracing is an effective public health intervention; contact tracing techniques and ethical considerations, including HIPPA regulations; as well as cultural sensitivities and inequities among certain population groups.
In addition to the public health benefit, the program also creates employment opportunities for individuals who have been financially impacted by the crisis. A recent report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security estimates that the U.S. needs to hire at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 state residents to help limit the spread of the coronavirus and start to reopen the economy. Contact tracers can earn up to $28 per hour.
College of DuPage President Dr. Brian Caputo said that through this critical program, COD is able to not only do its part in slowing the virus, but also meet the needs of the local workforce.
"This course is one of the many ways that College of DuPage is stepping up to quickly respond to the workforce needs in the region," he said. "We are grateful that we have such amazing community partners, like the DuPage County Health Department, who will play a key role in this challenging, but informative process."
The College of DuPage Contact Tracing Training program is a noncredit program and students will receive a pass or fail grade. Students must be at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma or equivalency and have a general proficiency in and access to technology.
The first training program will run from June 29 to July 24 and the second session will run from July 27 to Aug. 21.
Scholarships and other tuition assistance may be available. To learn more and to register, visit cod.edu/contact-tracer.
For questions, call (630) 942-2208 or email CE@cod.edu.