BRISTOL, Tenn. — In an effort to mitigate the effects of a surging wave of coronavirus infections from the omicron variant, Bristol Tennessee Schools will take the next three Mondays off.
Superintendent Annette Tudor gave an update on COVID case numbers and explained the reasons for their decision during a Bristol Tennessee School Board work session Thursday evening.
“Year to date, we have 725 positive student cases, 476 were in the first semester. In 14 days in the second semester we have had 249 positive students. For teachers and all staff, we’ve got 155 total year to date, 78 first semester, 77 in the first 14 days of second semester,” Tudor said. “That’s why we are having a hard time keeping things going, keeping our classrooms open, scrambling, because we’ve had as many staff out up ‘til today as we had last semester, and those are just positive and confirmed cases.”
In order to take the coming Mondays off, the Bristol, Tennessee Schools board has tapped into their limited stockpile days. Tudor said, the school system is left with only five days of the 13 allocated to them. That places the schools in a complicated situation if another outbreak happens.
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On the Bristol Tennessee Schools website, the school district said the schedule would allow the school system to maximize classroom coverage with part-time educational assistants and substitute teachers. The move will also provide additional time to disinfect the school buildings.
The Bristol, Tennessee School Board is not the only school system in the Tri-Cities to make the decision to use its stockpile days. The Kingsport School Board closed schools Tuesday due to staffing and illness issues related to COVID.
Across Tennessee, various school districts have had to close due to COVID-related complications or sought permission from the Tennessee Department of Education to pivot back to virtual classes temporarily.