Empty classrooms are becoming the new normal in Rutherford County Schools (RCS) this school year. See the latest parent reports below regarding the disaster of contact tracing at RCS.
This policy is unquestionably breaking Tennessee law by denying healthy, school age children access to education. Healthy kids are forced to be at home with no access to instruction of any kind. Without a full school closure, this is illegal.
Equally problematic, there is no transparent or duplicable process for any of it.
None of this was needed. All of this was preventable. Also, none of this arbitrary decision making has involved the School Board. It was done unilaterally and without any specificity provided by the Director of Schools.
This is a complete failure in every imaginable way. Even if you believe in the potential benefit of contact tracing, it’s clear that the current situation will not accomplish anything but put our kids further behind.
With this information known, the school board has an immediate responsibility to intervene.
If you want to help, sign up to join our fight here.
Here are some reports from parents we have received over the weekend:
– School closures are starting to happen due to lack of staff. Most of the staff are not symptomatic or Covid positive, just contact traced so the new policy requires quarantine.
– For staff that remain in school, they are being asked to cover multiple classes beyond their own, so classroom instruction and work is extremely limited for all students.
– For the students being contact traced, online tools are not working and there are widespread internet and tech issues. This means non-symptomatic, non-Covid positive students at home have no access to classroom instruction or assignments for days on end.
– School level administrators and office staff are so backed up from the sudden change in policy and sudden staffing issues, they are notifying parents of a contact traced exposure and need to quarantine AFTER the 7 day quarantine period is finished, defeating any theoretical benefit from such a policy and actually increasing potential exposure to other students.
– Because of this same administrative backup, students are being asked to take part in the process of notifying other students of contact tracing. This is not appropriate, and if contact tracing mattered–RCS is exposing the student to dozens of potentially Covid positive students.
– Students are taking advantage of the lack of process or verification by saying they are Covid positive or exposed just to get out of school with their friends. No one is verifying anything because there is no process in place.
– And the most common of all–zero consistency in how students are contact traced. It could be as simple as a teacher believes two students were close enough together, but there is no documentation or process required to follow. The current lack of methodology or tracking of any kind means schools have no idea who is with who, where or when. Clubs and sports don’t apply at all. Nothing is watched in hallways or any common area. Quite often one student is pulled for being contact traced, but not others on the other side of the same supposedly Covid positive student. And of course, there is zero tracking or tracing when students leave school to do a variety of activities off school property, possibly even being at home with a Covid positive family member who isn’t a student.