MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) — The fight against coronavirus continues in schools all over the country but in Hamblen County, school leaders are drawing up a plan to test students who may need it.
Positive COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Hamblen County schools. Cases have been increasing since everybody returned from winter break, according to the school superintendent. Now, he’s working to have tests available for all students.
“You can’t have people just getting sick. Rather be safe than sorry, so I don’t see any negatives with it,” said Isaiah Poore.
Right now, Hamblen County school employees and their kids are being tested for coronavirus at school.
“We would have a significant number of our staff members would have children in our school system,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeff Perry.
Recently the school system received nearly $2 million dollars in grant money. A big chunk of the funding is being used to buy COVID-19 tests.
“We’ve actually already received some positive results from that,” said Perry.
Perry reports nearly a dozen more teachers tested positive for coronavirus not long ago. They were tested immediately at school after showing some minor symptoms. Right now, about 30 teachers are out.
Perry said, “Our current filled rate is about 62% which means 32% of our classrooms that we have right now, we don’t have a sub in. Now we have been able to fill those with instructional aides or with some of our other folks we would have in the building but all of us are struggling with securing substitutes.”
Perry is looking to get his hands on more tests to broaden the reach from testing staff members and their families at schools to all students.
“This is a parental choice. It is strictly voluntary and we’re not putting anybody to be tested right now,” said Perry.
Perry explained if a student is showing symptoms at school, their parents or guardian will be called every time, and it’s up to them whether to give the green light to let their kid be tested at school.
He further explained, “The one option would be you can simply take your child and go, or you can give permission to be tested and be there with us. We’d test that particular child. Send the results off then we’ll know by the next day. It would be an active participation of parents.”
“Think it’s pretty safe to say it’s good. You know, keeping the community safe especially kids that have symptoms. Everyone should get tested that have symptoms most definitely,” said Nathen Spivey.
Superintendent Perry added the main goal is to keep students safe and schools open because right now, kids really need school.