Metro Nashville Public Schools no longer requires students or employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine.
The decision, told to families on Wednesday, brings the district into line with the new state law.
Legislation signed into law last week by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee limited the authority that local governments and schools had to take to slow the spread of COVID-19. The new law gives the state health commissioner sole power to implement quarantine policies.
While the district still requires universal masking due to challenges in federal court and the order of a federal judge, neither the district nor the local health department can approve or require quarantine, according to an email sent to students and families Wednesday evening.
“Any student identified as a close contact will be made aware of best practices but will not have to go into quarantine,” the email read.
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Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are still required to stay home from school for 10 days, as well as students who show symptoms of COVID-19 or another illness.
In the email, the district encouraged families of students who appear to be in close contact with a COVID-19 patient to take the following steps “to protect themselves and those around them”:
- Get tested for COVID-19 right away.
- Wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days after exposure.
- Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days and isolate if symptoms develop.
- Have yourself tested again 5-7 days after close contact.
While the same law also prohibits government agencies, including public schools, from implementing mask requirements except in the most dire of circumstances, a federal judge on Monday called for a temporary halt to enforcement of the law as a lawsuit escalates to court.
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Metro Schools is one of the few school districts to continually require staff and students to wear masks this school year. Other districts have also not enforced quarantines at all, despite guidelines from the Tennessee Department of Education in August telling school leaders that quarantines were “expected.”
For more information on Metro Schools’ COVID-10 policy, visit: mnps.org/covid-19.
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Meghan Mangrum covers education for the USA TODAY Network – Tennessee. Contact her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.