Rumor Mill - September 1, 2020

  • Rumor Mill

    Published September 1, 2020

    The Williamson County mask mandate has ended, but I see where students are still being forced to wear them at school. Under what authority do you have to issue such a mandate for the schools? 

    On July 13, 2020, the WCSB voted 11-1 to approve WCS' Reopening Framework for Families and Students for 2020-21. As a part of that vote, face coverings are required, with safety and practical exceptions.

    The Tennessee Legislature authorizes the Board of Education to manage and control all public schools established under its jurisdiction. This gives the Board of Education the primary authority over school matters, but administrative responsibilities are delegated to the superintendent.

    The State Department of Health clearly recommended that schools require cloth face coverings. That recommendation is for anyone over the age of two unless there is a medical reason for not wearing them, and that recommendation has not changed. This mandate is separate from the Mayor’s Order that was issued for the entire community.

    In the many conversations we’ve had with State and local health authorities, we have concluded that the use of masks is needed when students are on campus and where they cannot properly social distance, which is the case in most of our classrooms, to reduce the likelihood of spread from someone with a positive case.

    We believe our plan that includes the cloth face covering requirement is our best hope to keep students and staff on campus in this pandemic.

    Why are students still forced to have their temperature checked before coming into school? I've heard they're inaccurate and not everyone with COVID-19 has a fever anyway.

    The CDC recommends that families check their child's temperature each morning before sending their child to school. Because many families may not have the ability to perform those checks at home, each school will perform the check before the students enters the building.

    Why are the schools taking temperatures on the forehead?

    The manufacturer’s recommendation for the Dikang Medical Infrared Thermometer is forehead use only. These medical grade thermometers are safe and do not penetrate the skin or skull. There has been a great deal of misinformation about these types of thermometers. These devices are being used by healthcare, government and commercial facilities across Williamson County as well as the State of Tennessee. The thermometers were purchased and provided to WCS by the TN Department of Health and the TN Emergency Management Agency.

    Lots of parents want to know how many kids in Williamson County schools have tested positive for Covid-19 or are in quarantine. Transparency is obviously extremely important as we all make decisions about the safety of our families and precautions to take when kids come home. How can we see up-to-date information on these counts in WCS ourselves?

    Starting this week, Williamson County Schools will begin publishing a weekly article in InFocus which will contain the latest statistics regarding positive cases of COVID-19 and quarantines in our schools.

    Is WCS still planning to build a new elementary school in the College Grove area?

    In regard to plans for a new southeastern elementary school, the district is in the process of performing the required due diligence on property that has been identified. We expect to be able to make an offer to purchase the land once those studies are complete. The opening of the school is currently scheduled for August 2022.