Jan 5, 2022 - COVID

Nashville back to school during a surge

Illustration of an old fashioned desk overflowing with coronavirus cells.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Nashville public school students return to class on Friday, they'll be navigating a maze of new COVID-19 rules driven by federal guidance and changes to state law.

  • In an email to parents Tuesday, the district said it anticipates this wave of COVID will be "more intense" but will last for a shorter period of time.

Why it matters: Students with confirmed cases will now miss less time because of COVID quarantines, while those who come into close contact with an infected person won't be required to quarantine at all.

Driving the news: The CDC now says people who test positive for COVID should isolate for five days, down from the 10-day standard during the first 18 months of the pandemic.

  • "(Quarantining) students will be offered remote learning opportunities that must be documented and provided to schools at the end of the isolation period for attendance to be adjusted," the district said.
  • A state law passed this fall bars MNPS from requiring close contacts to isolate. Instead, the district encourages families to "monitor your student for symptoms" and "consider getting them tested after five days if notified of an exposure."

Details: The new state law and rules also block a switch to system-wide remote learning.

  • "To be clear, switching the district to remote learning during this wave of infections is not an option," the district said. "Closing schools is not an option without extending the school year into the summer."

Yes, but: With snow in the forecast Thursday, the start of the new semester could still be delayed.

  • Families should expect a decision on that front by 5am Friday.

Finally: Masks are still required as the district battles the state in court over mask mandate bans.

  • The district is offering free rapid COVID testing at McGavock High today and tomorrow from 8am-3:30pm at the small gymnasium entrance on the Two Rivers Parkway side of the school.
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