Johns Hopkins offers free COVID-19 contact tracing course

A free course offered by Johns Hopkins University through Coursera, an online learning resource hub, provides comprehensive training on COVID-19 contact tracing.

Using instructional videos, readings, quizzes, and a final assessment, folks can get their contact tracing certificate online. The course is entirely virtual, and has flexible deadlines so people can take advantage of the opportunity without having to shift their ordinary schedule.

The course, which takes around five hours to complete, starts with the science of the disease, including origins, clinical signs and symptoms, risk factors, and transmission.

After learning the basics, the course delves into the tools being used to prevent the spread of disease, including contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine, and how those are combined for effective mitigation.

In the next module, the course focuses directly on the contact tracing process and provides real-world examples of case tracing.

The logistical and technical elements of contact tracing aren’t the only things the course teaches — it also goes through ethical considerations relating to protection of public health, balanced with limits of personal privacy and autonomy. 

And you cannot be an effective contract tracer without having good communication skills and being able to build a close rapport with cases and contacts. 

“In this module, you’ll watch and read several example interactions that demonstrate both how and how not to conduct yourself as a contact tracer,” the Coursera website states. “The COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented need for contact tracing across the country, requiring thousands of people to learn key skills quickly.”