August 10: Washington County decreases, remains in red zone with other counties

Keeping Schools Safe

TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – Note: This article is updated regularly. Scroll down to see how these metrics affect framework plans for area schools.

All school districts have entered the “red” phase of reopening as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in our region while school boards grapple with school plans and delay start dates.

All of the school systems in this list go by a framework that hinges on the spread of the virus. Each plan details three “zones” under which schools will operate this fall, and each zone is determined by the 14-day average of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

Rate of community spread

The Tennessee Department of Health determines community spread within a community by calculating the average number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days.

According to the TDH website, the threshold signifying “substantial” community spread begins at an average of 10 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days.

Using that metric, here is an estimation of the counties in Northeast Tennesse in relation to the threshold:

  • Carter County – 29.09 ABOVE
  • Hawkins County – 32.58 ABOVE
  • Greene County – 21.61 ABOVE
  • Johnson County – 86.38 ABOVE
  • Sullivan County – 19.80 ABOVE
  • Unicoi County – 24.36 ABOVE
  • Washington County – 29.10 ABOVE
This is the framework for Sullivan County, Kingsport and Bristol (Tenn.) school systems.

School plans

Sullivan County, Bristol City and Kingsport City Schools use the same metric as the THD to determine thresholds for school plans.

The “red zone” triggers at a 14-day average of 11 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, and the “yellow” zone begins at an average of 6 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days.

Bristol, Tennessee Schools – Red

Sullivan County Schools – Red

Kingsport City Schools – Red

Based on calculations by News Channel 11 staff, Sullivan County Schools, Kingsport City Schools and Bristol Tennessee Schools are currently in the “red” zone of school reopening, as case counts in Sullivan County continue to rise.

As of calculations on August 10, Sullivan County is reporting a 14-day average of 19.10 new cases per 100,000 residents, an increase from over the weekend and a metric that pushes up after a near-record of new cases reported on Monday.

The county reported its highest calculation on Monday, continuing a climb that has remained consistent since June.

Sullivan County is reporting the lowest average of new cases per 100,000 people as of Friday.

Last week, officials with Sullivan County Schools announced that the system would be opening its fall semester with remote instruction through August 14.

Kingsport’s Board of Education voted on Monday to begin the school year behind the screen.

Bristol Tennessee Schools are operating under remote instruction until August 14.

Click here to read the framework plan for these three school systems.

Johnson City Schools – Red

Washington County Schools – Red

In Washington County, there were about 29.10 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the last two weeks as of August 10, which almost three times the threshold originally given for the “red zone”.

The metric has been decreasing from its highest point set at 34.40 on Friday. Monday marks the third consecutive day of decrease for Washington County.

That puts both Johnson City Schools and Washington County Schools in the “red” zone for reopening. According to Johnson City Schools’ website, this metric triggers consideration for school closure as school officials continue working with health officials and city leaders to make a decision.

Click here to read the framework plan for Johnson City Schools.

Click here to read the framework plan for Washington County Schools.

Greeneville City Schools – Red

Greeneville City Schools are currently in the “red” zone for reopening.

In Greene County, there were 21.61 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the past two weeks, according to data on August 10, following a weekend of steady increase.

Monday marked Greene County’s highest average of new cases per 100,000 people.

According to Greeneville’s framework plan, the ‘red zone’ triggers at 11 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks for three consecutive days.

Click here to read the framework plan for Greeneville City Schools.

This is the framework for Greeneville City Schools.

Note: Plans for Greene County, Carter County, Elizabethton, Johnson County and Unicoi County schools were either not readily available or did not include measurable thresholds for reopening schools. This article may be updated to include these districts in the future.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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