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Masks, Temp Taking, and Assigned Bus Seating Part of School Reopening Plan

During the special meeting held on July 30, Cheatham County School Board members voted 5-1 in favor of a reopening plan that would involve K-4 students attending traditional face-to-face classes while middle and high school students would attend under the hybrid classes model from the start of the academic year on Aug. 13 to Labor Day. In the hybrid model, middle and high school students A-K would attend their schools in person on Monday through Tuesday and students L-Z would attend in person on Thursday and Friday. The days that students were not in class would be lessons conducted virtually.

Dr. Cathy Beck, Director of Schools, said this reopening plan specifically targets the 70% of students who selected traditional learning. About 30% have chosen to do entirely virtual learning, she said. Dr. Beck added that she and school leaders would continue to closely follow the COVID-19 situation to determine how to proceed after Labor Day.

School board members added an amendment to the resolution to approve the plan that any future updates to the reopening plan that would involve changes to existing school policy would require a vote from the school board. John Patrick, Second District School Board Member, cast the dissenting vote, and said that he felt the plan put schools in a “precarious position” as regards to safety.

The policy requires students attending classes in person to wear masks when social distancing is not possible. For students who have a medical condition and not able to wear a mask, the school will need a note from a physician. Masks will also be required when students ride the bus. Bus riders will be seated according to a seating chart to allow contract tracing should an infected person ride; siblings will also be seated together, Dr. Beck said. Buses will be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) has supplied two months’ supply of disposable masks for students who need them, according to Shelley Duke, CCSD Supervisor of Coordinated Health Services.

While bus drivers will not be taking students’ temperatures upon getting on the bus, school personnel at each school would check each student’s temperature. Anyone above 100.4 degrees will be placed in an isolation room at the school, Duke said. School nurses would oversee the isolation rooms and would have hospital grade PPE to use.

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