More than 2,500 COVID cases in August at Knox County Schools, per state data


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Data collected from school districts by the Tennessee Department of Health shows 2,520 positive COVID-19 cases among Knox County students between 5 and 18 years old. The data does not include educators or staff.

The latest data released Aug. 31 shows 217 cases reported, setting a record for the most in a single day since the pandemic began. The increase comes as hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the Knoxville region are nearing a record high.

Data doesn’t identify students or distinguish if one student tested positive twice. However if each case represents a single student, then about 4% of the student population would have tested positive in the month of August.

Knox County Schools Board of Education called a special meeting Sept. 1 to discuss COVID-19 protocols.

In the month of August, the state reported 42,633 cases of COVID-19 among schoolchildren between the ages of 5 and 18 years old. That’s twice the previous monthly record set in December 2020.

The Biden administration sent a letter to Gov. Bill Lee and Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn warning the governor’s “opt-out” order for masks may infringe upon districts’ federal requirement to provide a safe learning environment for students. The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the matter.

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