TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday released new guidelines regarding quarantine after the COVID-19 vaccination process — a long-awaited update for school systems across the region.
This followed after school systems expressed concerns over faculty absences and filling vacancies as the staff availability staggered due to COVID-19 quarantines.
Washington County Schools Coordinated School Health Director Kelly Wagner said these new guidelines provide staffing security.
“Just the few months that we have left at school, this is very impactful to us because it’s going to keep the teachers in the classroom,” Wagner said. “It’s also impactful to us because it is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
According to the new guidelines, a vaccinated individual with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
- Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
- Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
- Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure
Sullivan County teachers and staff just launched their vaccine process Friday at the Bristol Dragway.
Sullivan County Director of Schools Dr. David Cox, however, said that the system’s light at the end of the tunnel remains weeks away.
“Until we get there, we’re still going to probably have to be under the quarantine rules of 10 days,” Cox said. “We’re five weeks away from having good immunity as a system.”
Another school leader in Sullivan County said the main concern stands — how quickly are the school systems able to obtain that level of immunity among teachers and staff?
Kingsport City Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Andy True said there might not be an answer for that just yet.
“How can we create — as soon as possible — the healthiest possible environment for our staff and for our students,” True said. “Really, that means right now. How many folks can we give shots in the arms in order to have that take place?”
News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel reached out to Dr. David Kirschke with the Tennessee Department of Health, who revealed the state is working to update its guidance to reflect the CDC’s, which is provided by CLICKING HERE.