COVID tracking returns to Knox Co. Schools

Knox County School board members confirmed that the COVID-19 dashboard will return on the school’s website beginning Monday, August 23.
Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 2:32 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County School board members confirmed with WVLT News that the COVID-19 dashboard will return on the school’s website beginning Monday, August 23.

Administrators will also receive guidance for these cases, according to 9th district school board member, Kristi Kristy.

A letter sent to parents by Superintendent Bob Thomas, said they planned 10 inclement weather days that they will use throughout the school year in case of illness. If all 10 days are used, they will make up the days from other breaks such as fall break, winter break, spring break, or by extending the school year.

Information will be sent to parents when active cases are confirmed within individual schools.

“I would like to emphasize that if your student has tested positive for COVID-19, they are required to isolate and will not be allowed to return to school without documentation from a physician or the Health Department,” said Thomas. “Contact tracing is being led by the Knox County Health Department and we are providing relevant information to assist them in this process. The Health Department is responsible for communicating guidance to families if their child has been identified as a close contact. Student absences related to COVID-19 will be excused, and students will follow the school-based protocol for makeup work.”

A 6th district school board member, Betsy Henderson said she continued to advocate for more information for parents so it would be easier to make the best decisions for their children.

“When I ran for the School Board, I promised to be a voice for parents and their children. I continue to believe parents know what’s best for their child, and in this unpredictable world, parents need as much information as possible to make sound decisions for their families.” Henderson said. “It has been incredibly frustrating that district leadership has yet to develop a comprehensive plan that would be open and transparent with parents, teachers, and school administrators - despite the school board demanding transparency.”

Henderson supports contact tracing, a COVID-19 dashboard, notifications to parents regarding exposure, hand sanitation, and cleanliness in all schools.

A Knox Co. School mother said she was aggravated that there had not been contact tracing for any of the 932 students at Gibbs Elementary.

Previously on August 4, the Knox County Schools Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss the upcoming school year and the COVID-19 pandemic, including masks.

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