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Knox County Schools COVID cases more than double in one day, dashboard says

COVID-19 cases in the Knox County school system have more than doubled in one day.
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 9:52 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2021 at 1:53 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The number of active COVID-19 cases in Knox County Schools has more than doubled in one day, according to the school system’s dashboard. As of Tuesday, August 24, the school system was seeing 276 cases county-wide. As of Wednesday, that number jumped to 601.

The total number includes 67 staff cases and 534 student cases. For context, the peak number of cases in Knox County Schools during the 2020-21 school year was 277.

The jump comes as school systems state-wide struggle with back-to-school masking policies. Gov. Bill Lee recently signed Executive Order 84, allowing parents to opt their children out of mask mandates. The order has caused many school systems to adjust their masking policies, including Oak Ridge Schools here in East Tennessee.

Local, state and federal health officials have all recommended students and staff mask up while in school. Knox County Superintendent Bob Thomas said at a Knox County School Board meeting that he agrees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that students and staff wear masks.

Gov. Lee and state health officials spoke at a media briefing Wednesday about COVID-19 in schools and masking policies. At the briefing, both Gov. Lee and Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey recommended that students and staff wear masks in schools.

Officials with Knox County Schools confirmed to WVLT News that the school system does not currently report quarantine numbers, but they are discussing tracking student quarantines in the future.

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