Carter County and Elizabethton City Schools remain open as of now

Published 9:45 am Monday, March 16, 2020

As of March 13, Carter County and Elizabethton City Schools are not closing due to the coronavirus at this time.

The school systems are preparing for the possibility of closing with both school systems being prepared to continue instructions from home, should it come to that.

“We have followed guidance from the CDC, the Tennessee Department of Education and the Department of Health on making sure we have a plan,” said Corey Gardenhour, director of city schools. “We are working to make sure if there is a crisis of some sort that we could at least try to continue instruction for our students at home if that became necessary.”

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Both school systems have been preparing for at-home instruction if schools end up closing. This would include instruction online or through assignment packets sent home.

In the meantime, both school systems have been following basic procedures from the CDC on how to approach the situation for when there isn’t a case, as well as if one does. This is updated daily.

“A lot of it depends on what public health decides if there is a crisis of some sort,” said Gardenhour. “We are making sure we are as ready as possible. We have been giving information to our staff and coordinating with the Health Department and the Tennessee Department of Education to try to make sure we are making the best decisions possible for our students. The safety of our students is paramount.”

Beth Bare, coordinator of school health for Carter County, said that school officials have been prepped on the coronavirus and are implementing times throughout the day for students to wash their hands frequently. Likewise, maintenance staff have increased their already usual cleanings. Due to public panic, however, supplies remain limited, even for schools.

“We were able to order about 200 containers of Clorox Wipes but that was all they had,” said Bare. “There were some other things ordered too, but it was all in limited supply due to everyone buying all the cleaning supplies.”

Bare said, however, that the limited supply will most likely not impact schools at this time as they had supplies stocked up and those purchased last week were extra. She believes that the amount they currently have will get them through the rest of the school year.

For those in a panic, Bare urges research and focuses on information from legitimate resources.

“I would say to parents to make sure that the information they are getting is from reliable sources like the CDC, the Tennessee Department of Health and also if they will check our website, Facebook page and Twitter page, we provide links to good information that the Department of Health and Department of Education have put out,” she said. “Be informed and make sure information is from a good source.”

While both school systems remain open, Bare said that closings are subject to change.

“It is literally like every hour we are getting updates,” said Bare.