County schools put COVID-19 response plan in place

Robert Houk • Updated Mar 5, 2020 at 8:27 PM

The Washington County Board of Education approved an update Thursday of a communicable disease policy for the school system.

The update to the communicable disease policy is the board’s first since 1998. The policy review comes as school systems across the nation address concerns about COVID-19. The Tennessee Department of Health said Thursday the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed.

The patient is an adult male from Williamson County, who contracted a mild form of the illness after recently traveling out of the state.

William Flanary, the county’s director of schools, said Washington County has also developed a coronavirus response plan that is similar to one put into place by Johnson City Schools earlier this week. He said the plan has been vetted by the Washington County Health Department, and is based on recommendations established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flanary also told school board members that he and other school directors across the region are in weekly contact with officials from Ballad Health to discuss the status of COVID-19.

The one major revision the Board of Education made to the communicable policy was a change to one graph in the document that reads: “If the student is confirmed to have a long-term communicable disease that precludes educating the student in the general education setting, the principal shall refer the student to the director of student services for a recommendation of support and placement.”

In other business, the county’s two elementary schools are collecting donations for victims of the tornado that devastated parts of Middle Tennessee earlier this week. The faculties and staffs of Boones Creek Elementary and Ridgeview Elementary schools are accepting contributions of perishable food and toiletries to go to residents of Putnam County.

Donations can be dropped off at the two schools until March 12. A local business owner has donated a trailer to collect the donations that will be driven to Putnam County on March 13.

School officials say the Putnam County Emergency Management Agency has listed items in need to include shampoo, soap, razors, baby food, batteries and work gloves.



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