WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Washington County, Tennessee School officials confirmed with News Channel 11 Thursday afternoon that 128 students were in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Six of those students have tested positive and four staff members were also in quarantine.
“I don’t know if that was school-related, I don’t know if that was home exposure or just exposure to family outside of the home. I don’t have that information right now. With the number that large, it’s got to be multiple reasons,” said Washington County, Tennessee Director of Schools Dr. Bill Flanary “They have to stay out until date certain and then we hope they get tested. We can’t mandate testing.”
Dr. Flanary told News Channel 11 the number of students either in quarantine or isolated makes up around 11 percent of Daniel Boone’s enrollment.
“High schools are so much bigger than most of our other schools. 10% percent of our high schools is a lot of people. 10% of our smaller schools just doesn’t seem that large. A high school is noteworthy just because they’re bigger in general,” he said.
The Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Department tells the school system who should be in quarantine or isolation. The school system only “isolates” students from in-person learning and assists in contact tracing.
“The nurse will look in the classrooms. We do have seating charts to look at. We’ll talk with the teacher, we’ll look at the seating arrangement in the cafeteria, on the school bus,” said Director of Coordinated School Health, Kelly Wagner. “We’ll also look at extracurricular activities and anyone that was within the six feet parameter for more than 15 minutes will be excluded from school.”
The county’s high schools are in a unique position with a larger amount of students than other schools in the district and offering different opportunities for exposure.
“The reason we have a large number of students out is based on exposure. Whenever you have a full re-open and all of our students are present, it’s hard to socially distance and that’s the reason that we’re having to exclude as many students as we are because we’re not able to have that six-foot parameter around every student,” Wagner said. “Students move around with their classes- they have a different first block, second block, third, fourth and fifth… that’s six different classes students can be exposed to as well as lunch and if they ride the school bus.”
The system has guidelines and protocols to follow through the state health department and are ramping up cleaning efforts.
“Teachers are cleaning between each class. They have a day crew that cleans, they also have a night crew that cleans. If we do have a case then we ae going to remove the students from that classroom and then they’re going to wait 24 hours and then clean the room,” said Wagner.
Wagner says if a student or staff member has one “high risk” symptom or two “low risk” symptoms, they will be excluded from school for 10 days. If a student has one “low risk” symptom, they will be excluded from school for 24 hours.
If excluded students or staff members take a COVID test and receive a negative result or alternate diagnosis that does not fall in the excluded categories, they can come back to school.
When a student or staff member tests positive for the virus, they will be excluded from school for 10 days and must be symptom free for 24 hours before returning.
When staff or students are put into quarantine or exposure, they are excluded for 14 days, even if they take a COVID test and receive a negative result.
We also checked in with Daniel Boone Athletic Director Danny Good who said that there have been no positive cases on any sports teams that are in season right now.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Musket Bowl was still good to go for Friday, October 23. Good also said the cross country team was also still participating in a district race on Thursday.