'Contact tracing 101:' Dominican University offers course on COVID-19 investigating

The new course gives students class credit, and on the job training interning with the health department.
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Call it a sign of the times - As colleges resume classes this fall, a North Bay university is offering a course in coronavirus contact tracing.

It's a way for students to earn credits and help the county bolster its vital COVID-19 tracking teams.

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"The students are really aware of the situation with the pandemic," said Professor Deborah Meshel.

Meshel is a Public Health Professor at Dominican University in San Rafael. She's gearing up to teach a course like no other.

"It's a win-win situation, the county is in need of contact tracers, since we're the hot spot," said Meshel.

Contact Tracing 101 isn't the official title for the new online course but it might as well be.

Twenty spots are open to all students interested in training to be a coronavirus tracker, contacting patients to establish chains of exposure and infection.

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Marin County Deputy Public Health Director Dr. Lisa Santora says Marin is in dire need of more coronavirus contact tracers.

The new course gives students class credit, and on the job training interning with the health department.

"Having this workflow opportunity with the university will help us better prepare if we see an increase in cases which we're expecting to moving forward," said Santora.

Enrollment hasn't started yet but already there's lots of interest in the tracer course, and there could even be a waiting list.

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Rekina Daniels is a senior at Dominican, she's already received her training through another online course. She's now volunteering as a tracer in Marin County.

"The more tracers the better... If this spreads, which it will, we'll be able to get ahead of it and play catch up," Daniels said.

Rekina never thought there would be a college course on virus investigators but it's a new world. The course begins August 27.

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