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Johnson City Schools to release coronavirus guidelines

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Mar 3, 2020 at 1:46 PM

Johnson City Board of Education Superintendent Steve Barnett said the district will release information about the system’s plans if COVID-19, a new strain of coronavirus, reaches Johnson City. 

At the end of Monday’s short monthly board meeting, Barnett talked to board members about posting new coronavirus guidelines on the district’s website.

While the new respiratory illness has not yet reached Tennessee, Barnett said officials are looking to be prepared. 

“We had a plan ready, we thought we were going to post that today, and then one of our health supervisors who deals with health and welfare was in a meeting had some updated information,” he said. “So we’re going to try to make sure that we have the most current information. We’ll post it online tomorrow, and then our plan is to continually update that.”

Some of those district guidelines will be similar to the advice given to parents and students every flu season, according to Barnett. 

“One of the things everybody needs to always remember is, of course, wash your hands,” he said, adding that parents should keep their children at home if they are showing symptoms similar to the flu or a “bad cold.” 

Barnett said the system will work with parents concerning the district’s attendance policies. He said “keeping everyone safe” will be the district's main priority, and custodial staff will continue to keep schools clean. 

The previously unidentified coronavirus strain is part of a family of viruses ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, its primary symptoms are fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Symptoms usually arise between two to 14 days after exposure.

As of Monday, more than 90,000 cases have been recorded, according to a data tracking map from Johns Hopkins University. So far, there have been more than 3,000 deaths. Most cases have been in China.

In the United States, health officials have recorded 101 cases and six deaths in Washington state. 

To see the district’s coronavirus guidelines, visit www.jcschools.org

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