By Brandon Shepard
The Corona Virus pandemic has been raging throughout the world for almost a year now. One year ago on March 16, 2020 Hamblen County students were quarantined nearly six months prior to returning to school. Many people’s lives have been affected, school systems have had to change protocols to adapt to a new way of life, and businesses have had to close their doors. Regardless of whether it is a business or a school, everyone’s lives have been affected by this outbreak. Hamblen County schools have taken additional steps to ensure that students are at the upmost safety at schools. The case numbers reported have decreased immensely to 158 active cases in Hamblen County alone as of Friday, Feb. 26. Cases are reported through the Hamblen County Health Department to the School Health Coordinator, Kellie Smith or to the school’s nurse. If an active case occurs outside of the health department, doctor’s offices are required to report them to the health department. If there is a probable case, the School Health Coordinator will contact the Health Department and ask for the verification of a positive case or the school nurse will contact the suspected person and discuss the situation. Precautions taken by schools include social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands, avoiding large gatherings, disinfecting between classes, and quarantining positive cases and students in close contact. If a student is within close contact with a positive case for more than 15 minutes, then the student or students affected are required to quarantine for 10 days from the last exposure. Students are also given the option to get tested on day 6 or 7 from the last exposure and will be able to return to school on day 8 if they possess no symptoms and test negative for the Corona Virus. Robin Ensminger, the Hamblen County School Registered Nurse, said this about cases after Spring Break. “We are glad to see numbers decreasing in hope they will continue to do so. There is a chance the numbers will increase because of travel over spring break, however the number of individuals who have immunity and been vaccinated is increasing as well.” The school systems are working to improve conditions for students and make these times for students easier. Follow all precautions and protocols for schools and stay safe!