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Bristol Tennessee schools record more than 220 COVID cases in less than three weeks

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Less than three weeks into the school year, Bristol Tennessee City Schools (BTCS) has recorded more than 220 positive COVID-19 cases. 

So far, there have been 216 cases among students and seven among staff system-wide, according to Rebecca House, public relations coordinator for BTCS. House says there have been no major COVID-related disruptions so far this school year and no schedule changes; however, the virus is still a factor, she said. 

“Thankfully, we now have more tools, such as vaccines and anti-viral treatments, to combat the virus,” House said in an email. “Given those factors, our emphasis is to return to as much normalcy as possible for students and staff while still giving families some flexibility based on their personal circumstances.” 

COVID-19 is being managed like other illnesses this school year, House said. Students and staff who test positive may not return until they go 24 hours fever free without fever-reducing medication and only if their symptoms improve. A five-day isolation is excusable with a doctor’s note or positive test. 

BTCS schools offer free COVID-19 testing for students and staff who are symptomatic or meet the testing criteria set forth by the Tennessee Department of Health. Drive-thru testing is also available by appointment-only for students and staff who are home sick. 

The number of students and staff currently out due to COVID-19 is tracked by individual schools, not at the district level, House said. For more on the school district’s COVID protocols and testing details, visit

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