NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — School districts in Middle Tennessee started another school year with COVID-19 cases still present in communities, though they’re nowhere close to the peaks of the pandemic.

“Last year we fought the battle on a daily basis to make sure that students could be in school honoring the quarantines and honoring all those safety issues,” said Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden. “We are still aware of COVID and we have protocols in place to make sure that that the students, students are safe. But it’s not just about COVID it’s about all the health issues that our students face.”

Metro Nashville Public Schools are updating some of their policies when it comes to handling cases. Starting this school year, the district will no longer be sending out school-wide notifications when there is a positive case. Also, students who have to isolate will no longer be allowed to participate in remote learning to count toward attendance. This is because the state rules that allowed this expired at the end of the last school year.

“So students will need to take an excused absence if they isolate because of COVID-19 and we’re asking families, we’re asking guardians to work closely with their schools,” said MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle during this week’s school board meeting.

Data released by the Metro Nashville Public Health Department Wednesday showed a two-day increase in cases of just under 300 cases. The positivity rate is 24.3 percent. On Monday this week, the Metro health department reported a three day increase of 639 cases and a 24.4 percent positivity rate.

“It is our number one priority to support our students both in their health but for their learning academically, we want to do everything we can do to make sure there’s no interruption and their access to their courses,” said Dr. Battle.

The Tennessee Health Department updated their COVID-19 case count. There were 803 people in Tennessee hospitals with COVID-19 as of this week with 125 in the ICU. This latest data is shows a decrease from july 26 when there were 850 hospitalizations, 133 in the ICU.One month ago on july 11th, the state reported there were 689 people in tennessee hospitals with COVID and 91 were in the ICU.

“We’re making sure that we’re continuing to follow every protocol that we can,” said Rutherford County Schools Director Dr. Jimmy Sullivan. “Most of that type of thing is controlled by the Governor now and so a lot of those things are outside of the school district’s hands, which allows us to focus on our ultimate mission of teaching and learning. But of course, we still have to make sure that our kids are safe.”

The CDC has Rutherford County in the medium level for COVID transmission while they still have Davidson County in the high level.