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COVID-19 in Carter County Schools… Why not receiving a call is a good thing

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Not receiving a phone call is a good thing. 
 
On Aug. 24, Hunter Elementary school announced in a letter that an individual in their school had tested positive for COVID-19.
 
“We are doing everything we can 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,” the letter states.
 
The letter goes on to describe a prompt investigation once being notified of an individual testing positive, and all in contact have been identified and advised to quarantine for 14 days. 
 
On Aug. 25, a COVID-19 positive case at Valley Forge Elementary School was identified.
 
Investigations like this are overseen by Beth Bare, Coordinator of School Health, who works closely with the Health Department.
 
In this work, tracing is conducted and decisions are made to what extent quarantines and deep cleanings are needed. Strict guidelines are also in place. 
 
Those who are identified as having been in contact with someone who has the virus are notified, 
 
Tracy McAbee, director of schools, explained how not receiving a call is a good thing. 
 
“If you do not get a call from the school or Health Department, that’s a good thing,” he said. “Only the families who have a child who was considered either a close contact or was positive get a call by the school, the Health Department or both.”
 
McAbee explained that a few parents have reached out wondering why they were not called, and the reason is that their children were not a close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual. 
 
McAbee went on to say that the school system is being transparent towards the virus, following strict guidelines and having weekly meetings with the Health Department to see where the county is in regard to cases. 
 
In schools, faculty and staff wear masks at all times, as do students except for during breaks when social distancing is in place. Social distancing remains a top priority as is sanitation and temperature checks. 
 
As he concluded, McAbee wanted to stress that not receiving a call is indeed a good thing.
 
“Not receiving a call is a good thing,” he said. “If you hear that COVID was at your school and you’re wondering why you didn’t get a call, it’s because your child was not a close contact.”