The COVID Alert PA app will be available to school-age children.

HARRISBURG (KDKA/AP) – Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and the Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega announced at a press conference on Monday morning that will allow Pennsylvanians age 13 to 17 to add the coronavirus alert mobile app to their phones.

The app, named COVID Alert PA, had been limited to people 18 and over.

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“By expanding the age range, middle- and high-school students will be able to add their phones to the fight and help in contact tracing that occurs in their schools if a positive case is identified,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine told a virtual news conference.

COVID Alert PA was developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health along with a partnership between NearForm, University of Pennsylvania, and MIT Lincoln Laboratory by using Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification System.

A parent or legal guardian must approve the minor’s use of the app, she said.

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Some school districts continue to conduct in-person instruction, even though every county has passed the thresholds of new cases where the state Department of Education recommended fully remote instruction.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Education is issuing a call to action to all youth in our commonwealth: We urge you to download the free COVID Alert PA app to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “Help keep yourself, your families, and your communities safe by utilizing your phone in the fight against the spread of this disease.”

Pennsylvania is now reporting an average of more than 6,400 new virus cases each day over the last week of November, triple the number from the last week in October. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are up sharply, as well.

The COVID Alert PA app can be downloaded in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

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