COVID-19 contact tracing course offered online

August 12, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State College of Nursing, in collaboration with Penn State Extension, is delivering an online course to educate participants on the basics of contact tracing. This noncredit, three-hour course is open to the public and prepares participants to support contact tracing in their local communities and organizations. There is a fee of $25 for participants who are not affiliated with the University.

While this course is available for the general public, it is also approved for three contact hours for registered nurses. Penn State College of Nursing is approved as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. 

As the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19 continues in communities nationwide, this course provides a foundation for understanding how contact tracing can mitigate transmission and support containment. The course features the expertise of Penn State Nursing faculty and includes course content related to quarantining, isolation, tracing communication, and ethical concerns associated recording and tracking health-related data.

Contact tracing has emerged as a critical component of robust pandemic response plans for communities and organizations. Thorough tracing practices aim to limit further spread by disrupting the chain of transmission, while also providing a chance to connect those who’ve been exposed to COVID-19 with medically sound guidance and resources. Contact tracing is a labor-intensive practice that often involves volunteers or individuals without a public health background, this course helps bridge the gap.

"The COVID-19 pandemic mitigation and response efforts require an extensive network of people who are trained for contact tracing. We have expertise in contact tracing at the College of Nursing and at our University that quickly acted to help us create this course to be available for health care personnel and anyone who is interested in learning more about contact tracing," said Kelly Wolgast, newly appointed director of the COVID-19 Operations Control Center and assistant dean for outreach and professional development.

The Penn State College of Nursing is uniquely positioned to offer this course, with nursing students, faculty and alumni being an integral part in treating and caring for patients with COVID-19. This course draws on these experiences in the form of case studies and first-hand testimonials. As nurses and health care providers across the globe demonstrate their heroism day in and day out, contact tracing presents an opportunity for communities to support their nurses and health care providers’ valiant efforts by getting involved at the local level. 

“The College of Nursing faculty have been contact tracing since the virus began surfacing in our community. As we move toward welcoming students back onto campus, resources like this course will be invaluable and we are pleased to provide this opportunity,” said Laurie Badzek, dean of the College of Nursing.

Featuring the latest knowledge of COVID-19 and best practices related to contact tracing, participants can be assured they are learning from experts.

To register, visit

For more information related to the University’s response to coronavirus, visit Learn about Penn State Extension at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 12, 2020