Knox County Schools: ‘Limited data’ about COVID-19 cases will be shared

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Schools superintendent Bob Thomas along with Knox County Health Department director Dr. Martha Buchanan said Friday night limited data would be shared regarding COVID-19 cases within the district in its metrics system launching next week.

Inevitably, there will be positive cases of COVID-19 as the pandemic continues and a vaccine hasn’t yet been released. Thomas acknowledged this in a letter sent out to KCS families: “…it’s important to recognize that there will likely be positive tests at many of our schools this semester. Knox County Schools and the Knox County Health Department will be working together to implement contact tracing when members of our school communities test positive.”

The system is part of the district’s contact tracing efforts in order to track the spread of the virus as schools in Knox County reopen to in-person classes for students.

Thomas and Buchanan’s letter reaffirmed the steps KCS officials will take when they know of someone who tests positive for COVID-19: “KCS will immediately notify the Knox County Health Department as we become aware that a student or employee has tested positive for COVID-19. In such cases, the KCS Health Services Department, under the authority of KCHD, will conduct contact tracing and directly notify individuals in our schools who have potentially been exposed to the virus.”

After that, details become limited.

Thomas and Buchanan stating in the same letter that in order to comply with privacy laws, the district will only “share limited data about cases in our district at this time.”

The metrics of COVID-19 cases the district and KCHD will be monitoring will be accessible online beginning Monday, which is also the first day of school both in-person and online.

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