Washington, Sullivan County Schools release fall COVID-19 guidelines, more districts announce in coming days

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JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – Washington County Schools released their COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-22 school year Wednesday afternoon.

The guidelines make masks optional, although the school will still provide PPE for those who want it. Washington County Director of Schools Jerry Boyd said the guidelines were in line with the county’s current COVID response. The guidelines might make school feel more like it was pre-pandemic.

“We’re excited to be able to do this in the sense of starting with what might appear to be normal,” Boyd said.

The guidelines also set new standards for handling exposures and positive cases among unvaccinated and vaccinated students and staff.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be kept out of school for 10 days unless they show no fever for 24 hours and improved symptoms. Additionally, vaccinated students will not have to miss school due to a COVID exposure.

Boyd said a top priority in setting the guidelines was keeping students in the classroom to provide the best learning opportunity possible.

“Both physically and in the mental health of children, being in-person at school is beneficial,” Boyd said. “We want as much as possible to keep our students in school this year.”

Washington County Schools will also maintain the sanitation efforts enacted during the pandemic. Boyd said the guidelines are subject to change based on school cases and local COVID trends.

You can read the full list of Washington County Schools COVID-19 guidelines here:

Sullivan County Schools also released their guidelines on Wednesday. They will no longer require masks as well. Their full guidelines can be found here:

A representative for Johnson City Schools told WJHL that masks will be optional. The district has other parts of their guidelines to still sort out. They said a full list of guidelines should be ready by next week.

Kingsport City Schools will release their guidelines following a School Board meeting next Tuesday night.

Kingsport Assistant Superintendent Andy True said the district wanted to look at keeping students safe from more than just COVID-19.

“What we’re looking at is for all of our health situations,” True said. “What can we do to provide healthy environments whether its COVID or anything else?”

True could not elaborate on what the school board is considering Tuesday, but Summer district operations did not require masks or social distancing for fully vaccinated individuals.

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