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A positive test… Westside Elementary employee tests positive for COVID-19 

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
Before the school doors could be opened to begin a new school year for Elizabethton Schools with an in-person hybrid model, Westside Elementary School released notice that an employee of the school had tested positive for COVID-19.
With children scheduled to begin classes on Monday at roughly a 20 percent capacity, custodial staff spent the weekend at Westside cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the school for the start of the staggered opening.
The notification was sent to parents and guardians of students who attend Westside Elementary by Principal John Wright.
In his letter, Wright said, “We are doing everything in our power to ensure the safest environment possible while continually providing education to our students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of our top priorities is protecting students, families, and staff, so our school district is following strict guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Tennessee Department of Health for the management of individuals diagnosed with, or exposed to, COVID-19.”
When someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, protocol requires that they are to self-isolate at home for ten days from the onset of their symptoms. Also, that individual must be fever-free for 24 hours and have improving symptoms before leaving isolation and returning to school.
Wright assured parents and guardians that a full investigation was underway to make sure to identify everyone who might have came in contact with the employee.
“As stated, we have been notified of one individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and who was present at West Side Elementary while potentially infectious,” Wright stated in his letter.
“I would like to assure you that we, along with our local health department, immediately began an investigation to determine who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 10 minutes) with that individual.
“All who have been identified as close contacts have been notified and instructed to quarantine at home for 14 days from their last contact with that individual. Quarantined individuals are not allowed to return to school until the quarantine period has elapsed.”
Wright went on to add that COVID-19 doesn’t cause illness in every person who becomes infected but it is highly contagious and it was important that everyone including students, parents, staff, volunteers, and the Tennessee Department of Health to help avoid closing schools.
The principal encouraged everyone to keep the employee in their thoughts and prayers.