To quarantine or to not quarantine

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CCBOE member Jeff Harris expressed his concerns about the quarantines continually causing a loss of education for students and a higher workload for the teachers trying to teach the quarantined students.

Chester County Board of Education tables consideration of adjusting quarantine procedures

By Kendall Patterson
Editor

The battle between learning loss and health continues.
After a long discussion among Chester County Board members, concerned parents, nurses, and school administrators the board of education scheduled to meet Friday Oct. 1 at noon for a work session on deciding if any adjustments will be made to the current Chester County Schools quarantine procedures.
The current procedures are from the Tennessee Department of health guidelines that say: No quarantine is needed if:
1) Both case and contact wore masks 2) COVID-19 diagnosis was made in last 90 days or if the individual is fully vaccinated with no symptoms.
Arguments against the current level of school quarantines, as presented by parents included:

  • School contacts that result in a positive case end up being only about 2% of the contacts.
  • Children are falling behind in their classes and learning loss is increasing.
  • A heavy burden is placed on the teachers trying to keep their students educated when they are quarantined.
  • At some point people should consider that COVID will always be a risk.
  • If vaccinating/masks/ quarantine only decrease the risk then why quarantine?
  • Some children rely on school to be their safe place and a place where they receive meals.
    On the other hand, reasons why the current quarantine procedures should remain include:
    -Risks are still being taken everyday by everyone and children could spread it to others with at-risk family members.
  • Even though it is not law, the Tennessee Department of Health guidelines are still the best resource in schools functioning in the midst of the pandemic.
    -COVID is real and long-term affects remain unknown.
    The motion to hold a work session was made by board member Norris Frank.
    “I’m not gonna sweep this under the rug.,” Frank said. I want kids to be in school, and it breaks my heart when one doesn’t get enough to eat because they’re not in school… But COVID is real. Yes, we have to live our life, but I think we have to be responsible also.”
    The board of education approved the purchase of the Arendall Property at $750,000 from the fund balance for eventual school expansion.
    During delegations, Shawn Mathenia of Lumalier approached the board about installing UVC to help kill germs, including COVID-19, within Chester County Schools.
    Another delegation was made by Chester County Junior High paraprofessional Amy Taylor.
    Taylor reccommended a reevaluation for pay grades of all paraprofessionals. She indicated the amount that the parapros are paid should increase.
    The CCBOE also spotlighted East Chester Elementary staff and faculty for their hard work.
    Kilzer announced that East Chester was the one Chester County School who was awarded Reward School in a release that came out Sept. 23.
    The district-wide school fundraisers were approved during the meeting and will be published in the October 7 issue of the Chester County Independent, and following.
    Read next week’s issue for information on the board of education’s decision.
    The next board of education meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21 in the Chester County Board of Education Office.
East Chester students greeted Chester Countians who attended the CCBOE meeting on Thursday Sept. 23 and escorted them to the East Chester cafeteria for the meeting. East Chester was spotlighted for being named a 2021-22 Reward School.
CCMS Tammi Beshires voices her thoughts about how the school system is doing the best they can during this pandemic and how the nurses are working extra hard to keep the children, faculty and staff safe.

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