Tenn. Nurses Association says more could be done to protect students

Posted at 8:17 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 21:17:53-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee Nurses Association (TNA) said Wednesday more could be done to protect students going back into schools soon.

The executive director of TNA, Tina Gerardi, said while she believes schools can start in person, it should be dependent on guidance from the Center for Disease Control.

"Our position is that you need to follow the science and what the experts are saying," said Gerardi. "Certainly, the CDC is an expert in infection control and infectious disease practices and we really feel like those are the guidelines that should be followed. In this particular case, if there's someone who tests positive everyone in that classroom should be tested."

This differs from the current plan unveiled by Governor Bill Lee Tuesday evening. If someone became sick, teachers, staff and students who were within six feet of that person for 10 minutes or more would have to be tested. The CDC guidelines call for a whole classroom to be tested in such a case.

Girardi is also worried about districts that won't follow the rules.

"There's always kind of a gut check when you hear about things reopening. Are things going to be done properly? Are people going to actually follow the rules that are being put in place? Because we're certainly seeing as restaurants and bars and other areas open up, the rules are not being followed. That's resulted in spikes of coronavirus across the state and across the nation," she said.

Girardi believes students will understand the safety precautions laid out by the CDC and Governor Lee's administration.

"We need to make it at their level depending on their development and understanding. The kids may not necessarily be the issue in this whole equation."