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COVID protocols from schools director

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Dr. Tammy Garrett, director of Bedford County School System, recently released a message to parents about COVID-19-related protocols on the school’s website.   

“COVID continues to challenge us as a school system and as a community. Unfortunately, we anticipate this trend continuing,” said Garrett. “I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that the Tennessee Department of Health recommends the following mitigation strategies to keep kids in school: vaccinations, masking, diligence in isolation and quarantines, and testing symptomatic individuals.”   

The school system website can be accessed at www.bedfordk12tn. com. The message is available in Spanish.  

Garrett explained to parents that in order to ensure the school system is doing all it can to keep our schools open, there will be a collaboration with the local health department with mitigation strategies.   

“Our cooperation with the health department on these mitigation strategies is mandated by the state. The local health department or your physician will be your best source of guidance for quarantine or isolation for your child.”   

The director said the school system has received a grant that allows for COVID testing for symptomatic students and staff.   

“If your child is in school and shows symptoms, we have the ability to provide a COVID test, with parent permission. This resource can help families to avoid heavy loads and long waits at area testing facilities. Please notify your child’s school if your child has tested positive.” She said there are now quarantine exceptions.   

“The following individuals are not required to quarantine: 1) vaccinated individuals; 2) if both the positive case and the close contacts were masked; 3) if the individual has documentation he/she had COVID within the last 3 months.   

Therefore, masking and vaccinations will considerably cut down on your child’s need to quarantine.  

“It is not our intent to have a mask mandate. We feel it is the choice of the parent, but I felt the need to advise you of the new quarantine exceptions because I know many of your students play in the band, play sports or really need to remain in school for other reasons.”   

Garrett explained to parents that the health department is extremely busy at this time; thus, principals, nurses or teachers will try their very best to notify them as soon as possible if their child has possibly been a close contact.  

“This will give you the ability to make the best parental choices for your child. Remember, guidance on quarantines and isolations should be obtained from your healthcare provider or the health department. As the superintendent, it weighs heavy on my heart that our students are having to deal with a third school year of this pandemic. As parents, I know that you are tired of carrying this heavy burden. But we are a strong community that will overcome this if we stand strong together. Let’s keep positive. Hope is still alive. In Bedford County, we will provide the best education possible for our students and keep them safe as well.”  

In other school news:    

  • Bedford County Board of Education will meet in regular session 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 21. Agenda items include the construction for the new Community High wing. Action items will also includerecommendationsfor teacher tenure. A Family Life Curriculum presentation is also a part of the agenda.  
  • Director of Schools Garrett continues to host free town hallmeetings. Coming up are meetings at the following locations and times: Liberty School, Monday, Sept. 20, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., school cafeteria; Thomas Magnet, Thursday, Sept. 30, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., school gym. (Town hall meetings were held recently at Community and Cascade). 

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