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School systems receive COVID guidelines from state

By: Chris Simones -- Reporter for the Southern Standard




Director of Warren County Schools Grant Swallows received a COVID-19 Response Rubric from the Tennessee Department of Health on Friday, providing specific information for how schools and districts should handle positive cases.


The document says the state has established criteria for managing cases within schools based on low, moderate, and high levels of community spread. As of Friday afternoon, it was unclear how Warren County is classified for community spread.


The document offers definitions for isolation, quarantine, cohorting, contact tracing, cleaning and disinfecting, and closures.


Isolation requires people who have been diagnosed with COVID or who have COVID symptoms to self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of their symptoms or from the date of their positive test. Isolation means staying home and staying away from people. Isolation means only leaving home to seek emergency medical attention. 


Isolation is not optional and may be formally ordered by the Department of Health if instructions are not followed.


Quarantine is used to keep close contacts (within six feet) of infected individuals from people who have not been exposed in order to slow the spread of the disease. Quarantine means staying home and staying away from people. 


Quarantine is not optional and may be formally ordered by the Department of Health if instructions are not followed.


Cohorting refers to the placement of students or staff into small groups that remain together over a period of time. For example, rather than students in a classroom of 20 being able to mix throughout the day, teachers could consider subdividing the class into smaller groups of students such as four groups of five.


Contact tracing refers to the process through which the close contacts of an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID are identified and instructed to quarantine.


Closures may occur in a classroom, hallway, grade, wing, or building level depending upon the extent of an outbreak and its associated contacts.


The entire document is available on the Tennessee Department of Health website.

Director of Schools Swallows encourages every parent, student, and interested Warren County citizen to visit warrenschools.com and read the Return To School Plan as well as the COVID-19 Response Rubric on the Department of Health website.


“Basically, we need everyone’s flexibility and help as we navigate the upcoming weeks,” Swallows said. “We know the importance of educating our students but also of keeping them safe. I’m asking for flexibility from our families as we encounter any sickness that might cause closures of a classroom or school. We have seen that happen already in our state.”


“We will be diligent in monitoring and communicating,” Swallows stated. “I am looking forward to a great year of learning for the students of Warren County in whatever form it takes.”

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