TDOE, in your letter dated March 13, 2020 you stated:
Encourage personal protective measures (handwashing, social distancing). Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces multiple times per day. Ensure hand hygiene supplies are readily available and in adequate supply for students and staff.
How is social distancing going to happen in a school with 500 kids, 1000 kids, or 2500 kids like some of our high schools? You are asking for people to not gather in groups of more than 250, but yet are not concerned that our schools have many more than that.
Your definition of social distancing is:
Social distancing, or avoiding close contact with others, is recommended. Public health professionals recommend a distance of 3-6 feet be maintained between individuals, where possible, and recommend forgoing personal contact like handshakes.
If your school does not have a lab-confirmed case or suspected case of COVID-19 · School operations should continue as normal
If your school has a suspected case of COVID-19 that has not yet been lab-confirmed · School operations should continue as normal. · The ill individual should be isolated at home. If COVID-19 symptoms are present (e.g. difficulty breathing, fever, cough) the individual should call their health care provider to determine next steps and whether testing may be needed.
What about our children, teachers, and staff who are immunosuppressed? Those with cancer, immune deficiencies, or other things? Yes, they could just stay home, but what about their siblings or children or spouses who will still be at the school hoping not to bring this virus home? We are doing a disservice to our school families by keeping our schools open. What about the grandparents who might have to take care of kids or live in a common house? What if this virus is brought home because we didn’t “flatten the curve?”
Even more to consider is the issue of cleaning the school facilities. Our school budgets are stretched so thin that our custodial staffs are already overwhelmed. The level of cleaning required to disinfect everything (with additional cleaning products that are in scarce supply right now) would require more manpower than our districts currently have.
"Don't think about changing your behaviour so you won't get it, think about changing your behaviour so you don't give it to somebody else."
Think of our kids first and not the almighty test. The Federal Government has said it will allow states to ask for testing exemptions this year. Tennessee needs an exemption. #2020NoTestYear.
This is a GLOBAL PANDEMIC, we can surely stop testing for it. Let’s not wait until our schools are a cess pool of infection and we have put our hospitals, our communities, and our lives at risk.
FLATTEN THE CURVE. CLOSE TENNESSEE SCHOOLS UNTIL MARCH 31 with a re-evaluation of the risk at that time. CANCEL TNREADY testing this year. These steps are the safest, wisest things to do.