COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — More than 80 students in a Tennessee school district have been quarantined during the first week of classes after a student tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, officials said.
News outlets report that a student at Cookeville High School tested positive and others who were in close contact with the student have been told to quarantine for 14 days, according to the school district in mostly rural Putnam County.
An additional seven teachers and staff, and a bus driver, are also at home due to a positive test or coming into close contact with someone who tested positive.
Many of the contacts occurred outside of school, which started this week, the district said.
“As educators, we believe that in-person learning is best; however, we are keenly aware that there will continue to be positive cases in our schools and in our community,” Director of Schools Corby King said in a news release. “We will continue to strive to remain in-person as much as is prudent and feasible while protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.”
Putnam County, located about 80 miles (120 kilometers) east of Nashville, has reported more than 1,700 cases and 18 deaths, according to the Tennessee health department.
Tennessee has reported more than 120,500 cases and 1,215 deaths statewide.
Meanwhile, in Shelby County, a federal judge on Friday denied the release of medically vulnerable jail inmates who are only behind bars because they can’t meet financial conditions for pretrial release or are being held on a technical violation of probation or parole.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups had sued the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of jail inmates who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 and are not deemed a flight risk.
The judge noted failures with how the county jail is detaining medically vulnerable detainees, but added that many of problems could be fixed and the jail had taken steps to correct some health risks, the ACLU said in a statement.