Students have shown interest in contact tracing, a key part of states’ reopening plans. The HP STEM team reached out to two Middlebury students who completed a free Coursera course on contact tracing sponsored by Johns Hopkins University.
Rising senior Benjy Renton wrote to share that, “spanning five modules, the course covers the basics of Covid-19, contact tracing, the steps taken to trace contacts, the ethics of contact tracing (including the use of technology) and skills for effective communication…it was interesting to learn more about how to effectively and assertively explain contact tracing to those who may not be as receptive to the idea of quarantining for two weeks. It also included tips on how to help others ensure they have the resources they need to quarantine and potential language barriers or dealing with undocumented populations.”
From Jack Eschert ’23 we learned that “the JHU course was incredibly valuable…the course takes approximately 6 hours to complete and the instructor, Dr. Emily Gurley, produces very thoughtful and easy-to-follow videos. The topics flow from broad to specific — first explaining the scientific background of SARS-CoV-2 and then transitioning to the essential skills a contact tracer must have. Each video is focused on a presentation slideshow with commentary from Dr. Gurley overlaid in the background. I found the short quizzes at the end of each video especially helpful: effective note taking makes these quizzes and studying for the final exam very manageable. Moreover, Dr. Gurley inserts brief vignettes that further cement your understanding of communication skills and how to handle special circumstances that might arise….I look forward to applying the skills that I learned in a volunteer capacity for the State of Connecticut tracing program.”