WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – As cases of COVID-19 grow, so does uncertainty surrounding the start of school.
Whether it’s online, in-class, or a mix of both parents, teachers, and students are preparing for all outcomes. In a more than 6-hour-long meeting, Williamson County Schools approved its preparations for the return of class in August.
Active COVID-19 cases in Williamson County continue to rise, pushing the fall semester into what the school board has deemed medium spread.
Despite the uptick, WCS Superintendent Jason Golden says the goal is to have as many students on campus as safely possible.
While the approved framework for medium and high spread outlines a mix of in person and remote learning, that doesn’t mean the plan will be implemented- instead it triggers a conversation.
“The growth has been very high in Williamson County compared to many of our neighbors. We’re at .5 or so. We’ve obligated ourselves to have that discussion with the Health Department,” Golden said.
The plan focuses on individual schools rather than the county as a whole. Contact tracing will play a major role.
“If there is what they call a cluster, that may be a significant issue enough for them to say you know what, you guys have a problem. We may have to decide to close a particular school building,” Golden explained.
If that happens, the school will close for a minimum of two days for deep cleaning.
Students will switch to remote learning with teacher support. The required daily instructional time varies on the student’s grade and class.
If a positive case is identified in the building, but it’s not a cluster, Golden says, “It doesn’t require an automatic closing. They will determine #1 confirm the case, [and] determine who they may have been in contact with.”
Contact, Gold said, is determined by the question – Have you been within 6 feet of the person positive for COVID-19 for 10 minutes or more?
If so, that student, teacher, or staff member must quarantine. Remote learning will kick in.
Golden also urges parents to recognize these plans may change again once school begins.
“It’s going to be very telling those very first weeks of school #1 what happens with the spread of the virus in the county and #2 the impact of positive cases in our building.”
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )