(WJHL) – COVID-19 case numbers in Tri-Cities schools are rising, and some school leaders are discussing what comes next.
“We have protocols in place to make sure that we’re dealing with that,” said Kathy Hall, Chair of the Johnson City Board of Education. “We want to continue to monitor the situation and making sure we’re doing everything we can to keep students learning and keep students safe.”
The Johnson City Board of Education will come together for a special-called meeting at the Central Office Friday at 4 p.m. to discuss current COVID-19 protocols and case numbers.
As of Tuesday, 45 students in Johnson City have tested positive for COVID-19, which is more than double the number that was reported last Friday. Other school systems are seeing rises in case numbers as well.
“There are so many that are not being tested that may be ignoring systems or not recognizing symptoms,” Sullivan County Regional Health Director Dr. Stephen May said. “We know this disease is so infectious and easily transmitted, those who we are recognizing at this point in time is the tip of the iceberg.”
“That’s the one thing we’ve had to understand coming into the year is that we’re going to have positives,” Unicoi County Director of Schools John English said. “It’s just going to happen throughout this entire year maybe.”
What happens after students test positive or enter quarantine? English said Unicoi County Schools are providing remote learning opportunities.
“This is our fourth day, and we have students already that are out,” English said. “But their teachers are in contact with them. They’re joining through Google Meets.”
Hall said in Johnson City Schools, those in quarantine are also continuing to learn – if able.
“It’s not like it was last year where you’re connected directly with the teacher,” Hall said. “You are getting packets and information from your class, so you can continue to work during that quarantine time.”