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White County Schools Preparing to Stay Open Until Christmas Break

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
White County Schools Preparing to Stay Open Until Christmas Break

White County Schools hope to stay open through the end of the fall semester, but are also preparing for a COVID case spike in January.

At Thursday night’s school board meeting, Director of Schools Kurt Dronebarger said staying prepared has been essential to schools staying open. Dronebarger said cases were rising before Thanksgiving break but feels confident they will be able to keep schools open.

“Before the Thanksgiving break we had about 400… A little over 500 students quarantined at some point, which is about 12 percent of our population overall,” Dronebarger said. “It’s a pretty significant number, but that number is cut in half right now and that’s why we think we’ll successfully get to next week… The end of next week and get to the Christmas break.”

Dronebarger said starting the year with a hybrid-learning model prepared the school for the technology and teaching kids when quarantines happen. However, he said he cannot pretend that teaching kids in quarantine is not a challenge.

“We just carry on like they’re sitting in front of us but they’re just looking at us through a computer screen,” Dronebarger said. “It really works well, our parents have adapted… It’s still hard and challenging and I won’t pretend that its not, but we’ve been able to carry on with those students even though they’re not there. The quarantines haven’t shut us down, it hasn’t pushed us to the brink.”

Dronebarger said Thursday night that the school system will be implementing the latest CDC guidelines. Which could cut quarantine time with a negative test nearly in half. For both students or staff who came in contact with someone inside or outside their house.

“If you have a negative test you can come back on day eight, so you can test as late as day six or seven… Get that negative result, you could come back on day eight,” Dronebarger said. “It has essentially in that regard, cut the return time in half for quarantined students.”

The quarantine time for household contact is still recommended for 24 days. However, the latest guidelines say students can come back after 11 days, with a negative test.


The post White County Schools Preparing to Stay Open Until Christmas Break appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.