Last Updated 3/13/2020
Williamson County Schools continues to work closely with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), Williamson County Health Department, Williamson County Emergency Management Agency and others to bring you the latest information regarding the novel coronavirus.
To help answer questions parents may have, the TDH launched a Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line. The hotline number is 877-857-2945 and will be available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
In addition, parents will find a list of Frequently Asked Questions below that was compiled by WCS and the Tennessee Department of Education. Please continue to check back regularly as this will be updated periodically.
How are you handling athletic and arts events, practices, etc.?
Starting March 14 all WCS athletics and arts events and field trips are cancelled through Sunday, March 22. Athletics and arts practices are cancelled through Friday, March 20. We will re-evaluate all events and practices on March 20 and will send additional updates by the end of business on March 20. This cancellation is for events, field trips, and practices held on or off campus under the supervision of WCS until the dates noted above.
Will small group activities still take place at school?
Starting March 14, all campuses activities and events are cancelled through Friday, March 20. We will re-evaluate all campus events and activities on March 20 and will send additional updates by the end of business on March 20. This includes cancelling this weekend’s SAT testing, all Credit Recovery, Elementary SACC for spring break, and all Mercy & STARS therapy. Please ask staff who may need to pick up anything from their classrooms or offices to do so today. All campuses will be closed March 13 through March 20. Again, we will re-evaluate all campus events and activities on March 20 and will send additional updates by the end of business on March 20.
How are you handling field trips?
At this time we are cancelling all out of state and overnight field trips until further notice. This comes as our governor declares a state of emergency, the World Health Organization declares a pandemic, and the state and local government guidance shifts to match the current spread of the Covid-19 virus. For these reasons we are not comfortable leading these trips out of state or in areas of the state where overnight travel is needed until further notice.
Are outside groups still able to use WCS facilities?
Faculty use requests from community groups using campuses are suspended through Sunday, March 22.
Is the district adjusting the timeline for the third quarter?
The end of third quarter will now be Wednesday, March 25. Report card delivery dates will also be adjusted accordingly.
What are we supposed to do about homework since we’ve been out of school?
Though our board policy (4.609) is designed for planned breaks for vacation and to honor time away from school, school closure due to health issues/concerns are slightly different and not outlined in policy. Our practice is that new assignments may be given when school is closed due to health or inclement weather, but the work assigned should not be due the first day back after that break. Assignments that were given prior to the break and originally due on March 6th, our first day closed, may still be due the first day we return.
How does the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread?
The spread pattern appears to mirror those of the common cold or flu. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, generally between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). This spread appears to occur through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
What are the primary symptoms of the virus? What should I be looking for?
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
What should I do if my child or someone in my family is exhibiting symptoms?
Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Are children more at risk for the coronavirus and how should infection be prevented?
No, according to the health officials, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. Children should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection, including cleaning hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding people who are sick, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza vaccine.
What other precautions should we take?
Health officials recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Should my child wear a face mask?
It is not recommended that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
Should I continue sending my child to school and after school activities?
As always, if your child is sick, they should stay home until they are symptom-free and/or fever-free for a full 24, hours, without the use of fever reducing medication. But as Tennessee Department of Health officials have stated, the risk to the general public continues to be low.
How is the decision made for a school to close?
Districts work with local health officials to make closure and dismissal decisions. If a determination is made a school must close, the school will seek specific guidance from local health officials to determine if, when, and for how long to take these steps.
Who do I contact if I am not getting notifications about school closings?
If you are no longer receiving school closure alerts, please contact the WCS Communications Department at 615-472-4030. We will also alert the public anytime there is a school closure by posting that information on the district’s Facebook page, Twitter account and our mobile app.
If my school must close, will remote learning be an option? Or will my school have to add days on to
the end of the school year?
Schools and districts have been reviewing their e-learning plans and options. Each school in Tennessee must complete 180 days of classroom instruction. Schools that exceed the full 6½ hours of instructional time required by law by ½ hour daily for the full academic year are credited with the additional instructional time. The excess instructional time of up to 13 instructional days each year, may be applied toward meeting instructional time requirements missed due to dangerous or extreme weather conditions or serious outbreaks of illness. Most schools in Tennessee accumulate 13 stockpile days. In addition, in the event of a natural disaster or serious outbreaks of illness affecting or endangering students or staff during a school year, the law authorizes the commissioner of education to waive for that school year the requirement of 180 days of classroom instruction. We will be working with school districts on a case by case basis if the need arises.
If I am a substitute and my assignment gets cancelled due to school closures, will that count towards my fulfillment requirement?
What are our schools doing related to prevention and preparation?
Schools and childcare services have received guidance from state and federal health care officials to help them plan and prepare if COVID-19 does appear in their community. This includes common sense precautions like handwashing practices, environmental cleaning and sharing resources. Schools where a COVID-19 case has appeared will work with the local health department and other relevant leadership to communicate the possible COVID-19 exposure and take immediate action to prevent the spread
What cleaning products were used to disinfect Williamson County schools?
Disinfectant cleaning products used include Virex TB and Oxivir Five 16. These products are used routinely in the schools.
How does a senior get a hard copy of their transcript and the school’s grading scale for a scholarship that is due today with the school system shut down again? The report card in Skyward isn’t sufficient.
The first step is to call the school to set up a time to pick up the documents. Not all schools will be staffed and able to accommodate the request.
Are band instruments being cleaned?
Band and orchestra directors are cleaning all school-owned instruments, however most of our instruments are student-owned.
For additional information regarding COVID-19, please visit the coronavirus information page of our website.