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Mother and health comms professor sounds alarm over Rutherford Co. School's quarantine policy

School Quarantine
Posted at 5:57 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 19:36:17-04

RUTHERFORD CO., Tenn. (WTVF) — A Rutherford County mother is sounding the alarm about Rutherford County Schools' quarantine policy after potential exposure.

"Students with exposure are then returning to class the next day or never leaving at all," said Katie Foss, a mother of two RCS students.

Under RCS's current policy, students potentially exposed to COVID don't have to quarantine unless they're showing symptoms.

"I was very troubled by it. It’s incredibly problematic to not require students who have been exposed to quarantine. And now that I’ve seen the policy in action, I’m even more concerned," said Foss.

But that goes against what the CDC recommends. Their guidance says, anyone exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine at home until they can be tested, which is what RCS did last year.

"I had no issues sending my kids in person last year with masks and distancing and spread out lunch spaces and then proper quarantining protocols," said Foss.

A spokesperson for the district tells NewsChannel 5, "Many families and employees in these situations are choosing to take the recommendation to quarantine."

They add, "In all situations, the Department of Health has the ultimate authority to quarantine individuals, and the school district’s procedure is in effect to the extent practicable and in consideration of its statutory purpose to educate students safely."

But Foss says it sends the wrong message. It's something she knows all about because she's also an MTSU Communications professor, specializing in health communications.

"These are conflicting messages, these are messages that water down the overarching goal which should be to keep the public safe. There’s been too much focus on personal choice, on parents choice, for decisions that really impact everyone," said Foss.

Because in Foss's world, numbers are important, but especially when it involves her own kids.

"I can’t think of another moment in history in which kids are put last," she said.

If you'd like to see what your district's policy is, click here.