HCS Fights Against COVID

Keeping Schools Safe and Open for our Students

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Reviewing Our Three Priorities

Due to the current situation, the Northeast Regional Health Department (NER), has made the decision to shift their focus from contact tracing to prioritizing confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community and schools. While NER is moving away from the practice of assisting schools with contact tracing, Hawkins County Schools will continue to follow the recommendations set by the TN Dept. of Health, identifying those most at risk close contacts when dealing with a confirmed case. In the community, the health department is now relying on the confirmed cases themselves to notify their close contacts. HCS staff will work independently with confirmed cases to exclude them from school. We will then work directly with anyone identified as close contacts (within six feet for 15 minutes or longer over a 24 hour period). Although there are changes to the close contact identification and reporting, we will not change any of our HCS Operational Plan mitigation practices. Consistent with CDC recommendations, masks are still highly recommended and provided for anyone needing them. We will maintain social distancing and hygiene practices, and avoid group gatherings. We will continue to adhere to strict spectator practices within our sports and extracurricular programs, as required by TSSAA.

We had three priorities when setting out to develop operational plans this summer. First, student and staff safety; second, providing quality and consistent instruction; and third, being proactive regarding cases within the schools to prevent spread of the virus. We continue to focus on these priorities as we move forward. We will tackle this problem at its source, lessening the needless impact on all sites within the system. You will continue to see grade level and/or sites close for short periods of time as needed, to avoid additional contact and potential spread.