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Putnam School Board Forming Medical Advisory Committee

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

Putnam County Schools now have a Medical Advisory Committee.

The School board voted Friday to form the committee during a special called session.

The committees purpose is to meet with medical professionals to revise the number of days a student is quarantined, who was exposed to COVID-19 but did not test positive.

Putnam County Director of Schools Corby King said board members will be part of the medical professional selection process.

“What the board has done in the past is each board member has selected one member,” King said. “I anticipate that’s what they’ll do here as well, most likely. So, I would anticipate a committee of somewhere between six and ten medical professionals and board members.”

Board Chair Lynn McHenry read a statement on the systems COVID-19 data. Citing the 138 students and staff who have tested positive. As well as, over 1,400 students who have quarantined. McHenry said the current quarantine process has affected students and parents.

“We recognize that 14 days is a detriment to the learning process of our students, and a burden to parents and caregivers,” McHenry said.

McHenry said the board  is forming the committee to see where restrictions on quarantine can be lightened. Board member Dr. Dawn Fry said parent feedback play a role in this formation.

“We’ve heard from parents who have said that their child does not learn well online,” Fry said. “So, we are doing harm to children, to our students, because we are not giving them the best education they can receive,”

These students are not testing positive but are believed to have come in contact with someone who has. The Medical Advisory Committee will meet during the October School Board Meeting.

Putnam’s return to school plan was also discussed. September 18th is the deadline for parents to make a decision on virtual or in person learning. There will be a December 3rd meeting to decide how to approach the Spring semester and revisit parent’s decisions.

King said this meeting will happen because of the unknown with the pandemic.

“We’ve heard from a lot of families that are concerned about that deadline,” King said. “Because there’s so many things that could change with this virus, so many unknowns, things that could still happen.”

The decision on how children learn in Spring 2021 could go either way depending on if protection from COVID-19 gets better or worsens. King said this will have the school system prepared if things do have to go full remote or a vaccine becomes available.




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