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Sep. 1 COVID-19 Mitigation Message

September 1, 2021

Good afternoon, CMCSS families,

 We are reaching out with a few updates and reminders regarding COVID-19. The Tennessee Department of Health’s data indicates Montgomery County’s spread of COVID-19 has continued to increase to 1.083%. Currently, 3,773 students are absent for COVID-19 exclusions of which 832 are self-reported positive cases. For employees, there are 97 positive cases and 171 employees are on COVID-19 related leave. CMCSS has been reviewing information and plans from the Tennessee Department of Education and legalities and best practices for a COVID-19 dashboard for this school year. Please click here to access the 2021-22 COVID-19 District Dashboard. 

In our message on Aug. 20, we shared the district’s additional mitigation measures and reiterated the importance of personal choices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze in your bent elbow.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Wear an appropriate facial covering indoors and on transportation when you feel you are close enough to others for respiratory droplets to spread. It does not have to be all day; most importantly in common areas and crowded spaces.

We want to provide more information on two of those choices.

Stay Home When You are Sick

Please continue to refer to the CMCSS Return to School/Work Flowchart. You should work with your child’s school to ensure they are aware of any symptoms that may exclude a student so their attendance can be noted appropriately. If you have questions regarding attendance concerns, please contact your child’s school. 

A few notes from the flowchart:

  • Individuals who test positive and have symptoms may return after at least 10 days after symptoms first appeared AND at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication AND symptoms have improved. 
  • Individuals who have one of the following symptoms may return to school after symptoms improve: congestion, runny nose, chills, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, sore throat, headache, fatigue, muscle pain
    • If an individual has two or more of the above symptoms, families should contact their medical provider and refer to the Return to School/Work Flowchart before returning to school.
  • Individuals who have one or more of the following symptoms should contact their medical provider and refer to the Return to School/Work Flowchart before returning to school: new cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste/smell, fever

Wear an Appropriate Facial Covering

Last Fri., Aug. 27, the Tennessee Department of Health updated its quarantine guidance for close contacts. If both the infected individual and the exposed individual are correctly wearing appropriate facial masks at school, the close contact IS NOT required to quarantine if they do not have symptoms.

Please help us mitigate the spread of the disease and reduce disruptions to students’ learning. The 3,773 students who are excluded due to COVID-19 are students who are not receiving in-person instruction. Providing high-quality, in-person instruction is crucial in any year, but as the district addresses learning loss from the past 18 months of disruptions, we need as much support as possible to keep students learning each day. 

All students, employees, and visitors should wear an appropriate facial covering in buildings and on transportation when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Finally, a note on contact tracing. Health departments are the only entities that can order a quarantine and contact tracing is the responsibility of health departments. Schools can exclude students who are symptomatic. The Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) is not contact tracing, which is a shift from last year. The TN Department of Health (TDOH) is conducting contact tracing, and potential close contacts will be contacted by a third-party company contracted through TDOH. TDOH will not notify CMCSS of the results of their contact tracing investigation. CMCSS cannot confirm the names of positives or potential close contacts to anyone, and CMCSS cannot quarantine or isolate individuals. Last year, on behalf of MCHD, CMCSS sent an exclusion (not quarantine) message to families. Additionally, the District received notifications from MCHD of which students/employees are quarantined and their return-to-school/work date for attendance purposes. With contact tracing being conducted at the state level, we are not being contacted with case verifications or requests to assist with communication, so all cases/exclusions in the school environment are self-reported. It is critical for families to communicate health-related absences with their child’s school.