Local school systems discuss contact tracing practices

Back To School

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – As local school leaders monitor COVID-19 cases closely, contact tracing will be one safety measure used again this year to prevent the spread of the virus.

Washington County, Tenn. Director of Schools Jerry Boyd said much of the same COVID-19 protocols from last year will apply again this year. However, adjustments are possible as recommendations from the CDC and local health departments shift.

“If they’re positive for COVID then the normal protocols that we’ve had in place will take effect,” Boyd said. “They will be quarantined or in isolation for you know, 10 days, and then after that point, to return they must be symptom-free.”

Despite wider vaccine availability this year, Boyd said contact tracing will still occur.

“The health department certainly will continue to do that,” Boyd said. “We will support the process by doing notification.”

Norton City Schools returned to the classroom Wednesday. Superintendent Gina Wohlford said that her school system will rely heavily on health department guidance for how to proceed with contact tracing.

“We may not notify the public as much as we did last year as far as putting out every single time we had a case,” Wohlford said. “But, if it relates to a child in those classrooms, we will make sure they are aware.”

Each school system said that the COVID-19 protocol is subject to shift as COVID-19 cases rise or fall. It’s something they’re taking one day at a time.

“While there’s great excitement that we are getting a new school year, certainly a lot of concern and concern just about how we’re going to best handle this situation,” Boyd said.

Washington County Schools dashboard reports that as of Wednesday, the school system has 22 students and staff with confirmed COVID-19 cases, 76 are quarantined.

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