Less than a week into the school year, over 175 Trousdale County students are under quarantine because of potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield confirmed to The Vidette on Tuesday that 148 students at the high school were under quarantine after a teacher tested positive for COVID. Also, roughly 30 sixth-graders at Jim Satterfield Middle School are similarly under quarantine after a student tested positive.

“That’s about 30% of the student body (at the high school),” Satterfield said. “A teacher but showed no symptoms Thursday and Friday, then symptoms came up over the weekend. The teacher took a COVID test over the week, was positive and is following our policies to a T.”

The teacher, whose name was withheld for privacy reasons, contacted school health officials to report the illness. School nurses used contact tracing to determine anyone who had been within six feet of the person for more than 15 minutes, per Department of Health guidance. Anyone fitting in those criteria is required to quarantine.

“They began the contact tracing 48 hours before the onset of symptoms,” Satterfield said. “The teacher did not purposely or negligently expose students; they did a great job and reported immediately.”

All quarantined students, per Tennessee Department of Health policy, must isolate for 14 days if they are not tested for COVID. If parents wish, they can have their child tested after six days and could return after eight days with a negative PCR test. Students who return after eight days would be required to wear a mask at all times, even indoors, for the remainder of the 14-day period.

“The idea is to quarantine students who have been exposed to a confirmed case to reduce the chances of a school outbreak that could close the school for everybody,” Satterfield said.

All Trousdale County students have Chromebooks, so quarantined students are able to continue their education while at home. No other teacher at TCHS or JSMS, other than the confirmed positive case, is currently having to quarantine.

“We planned for this from the very beginning,” Satterfield noted. “Our students and teachers have over a year’s worth of experience with remote learning… It’s not as good as being in the classroom in person, but it beats the heck out of not being connected to the classroom at all.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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