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Clarksville-Montgomery Co. Schools announces phase-in return for grades 7-12

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Posted at 1:11 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 14:11:13-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) announced a phase-in return to in-person learning for grades 7-12, citing the county’s improving COVID-19 numbers.

The district said Friday that all 7th-12th grade traditional students will return to in-person learning on February 8.

The school system released a few main points regarding their decision:

  • “Clarksville-Montgomery County has experienced 11 straight days of declining % of community spread of COVID-19, dropping around 0.4% in 11 days.”
  • “Although the positivity rate has seen slight increases and fluctuations over the past few days, this can be attributed to nuances in the data provided by the state; rapids vs. PCR, etc.”
  • “COVID-19 related leave continues to decline, moving from 499 on Jan. 4 to 191 yesterday.”
  • “The Substitute Department expects at least 60 additional individuals who will be able to cover classes in the next week or two.”
  • “Traditional students who are not currently in person comprise around 35% of traditional learners; any further phasing of grade levels presents numerous challenges and is not expected to have district-wide advantages in regards to staffing.”
  • “Although many students flourish in the remote or virtual learning settings, CMCSS faculty, staff, and administrators know the importance of in-person learning for the majority of our students.”

The district said staffing issues and the substitute shortage are expected to continue during the pandemic, but COVID-19-related leave has continued to decrease.

However, CMCSS officials urged families to have a plan in place in the event that school buildings have to close and students have to return to remote learning.

“As Onsite Employee Health and Wellness partners with the Montgomery County Health Department to distribute vaccines to CMCSS employees in the coming weeks, the potential exists that schools will temporarily transition to remote learning in order to expedite the vaccination process,” the district said in a release.

The district will communicate with families as soon as plans are finalized.

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.