FAQs related to COVID-19's effect on Bedford County Schools
Safe, in-person learning for students is essential. We can achieve this goal through proven COVID-19 mitigation strategies for students, teachers and staff. Proven mitigation strategies include vaccination, masking, social distancing, isolation of positive cases, and quarantining of close contacts. Adults who work in the school
system are vital partners in mitigating COVID-19 to keep schools open. With guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Department of Health, we are providing answers to FAQs for our stakeholders and communities.
1. What is the best way to keep teachers and staff in schools?
Vaccination. Vaccinated individuals are exempt from quarantine as long as they are not showing symptoms. More information regarding vaccinated individuals’ exemption from quarantine can be found here
2. What is the best way to prevent infection, isolation and quarantine in the K-12 setting?
Vaccination. Those who are not eligible for vaccination should practice other mitigation strategies like masking and social distancing. Practicing these mitigation strategies will reduce infections and the likelihood that you need to isolate or quarantine. Multiple mitigation measures are necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19. If vaccination and masking are not prevalent in a K-12 setting, then isolation and quarantine are even more important.
3. What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
Both isolation and quarantine slow the spread of COVID-19. Both isolation and quarantine involve staying at home and staying away from other people. Isolation is for a person who is COVID-positive. There are no exceptions to isolation. Quarantine is for a person who is a close contact of a COVID-positive case. There are exceptions to quarantine
4. Vaccinated individuals are exempt from quarantine if they meet the following criteria:
CLOSE CONTACTS (Boosted or Recently Vaccinated) Close Contacts do not have to quarantine if they have remained asymptomatic since exposure to COVID-19 and:
- Received a booster dose of vaccine OR
- Completed a primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in the last 6 months (Must be ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose) OR
- Completed a primary J&J vaccine series in the last 2 months (Must be ≥ 2 weeks following receipt of single dose)
NON-HOUSEHOLD CONTACT (Boosted or Recently Vaccinated) Non-household contacts should get tested 5 days after their exposure, even if they are asymptomatic, and should wear a mask indoors in public for 10 days following exposure or until test results are negative. If they test positive, they must isolate.
HOUSEHOLD CONTACT (Boosted or recently vaccinated) A household contact is an individual who shares any living spaces with a case, including bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, etc.
- If the contact can separate from the case within the home, then they can follow the non-household guidance.
To separate, the case
1) should never be in the same room as household members
2) should not share plates, cups, dishes, or phones with household members
3) should have their own bathroom (or conduct daily bathroom cleaning).
- If the contact cannot separate from the case in the home, they should get tested 5 days after initial exposure to the case and again 5 days after the end of the case’s isolation. The contact should wear a mask indoors in public for 10 days following last exposure or until test results are negative. If they test positive, they must isolate.
Who else is exempt?
Quarantine slows the spread of COVID-19, and mitigation strategies like masking and social distancing reduce
the likelihood of quarantine. Quarantine exceptions
• You were completely vaccinated within the last 6 months or have received a booster does of the vaccine if vaccinated longer than 6 months ago.
• You were exposed to a COVID-19 infected individual in the K-12 indoor classroom setting, and both you
and the infected individual consistently and correctly wore masks the entire time.
• You are not a close contact of a COVID-19 infected individual.
Even if you satisfy a quarantine exception, wearing a mask for 14 days after your exposure is appropriate.
5. Who is a close contact?
A close contact includes someone:
• Living in the same household as a person infected with COVID-19
• Caring for a person infected with COVID-19
• Being in direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person infected with COVID-19 (for example, being
coughed on, kissing, sharing drinks or utensils, etc.)
• Who has been within 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes within 24 hours
(either consecutive or cumulative.) However, this general guidance depends on the exposure level and setting. The final decision on who constitutes a close contact is made at the discretion of the local health department. A close contact of this type is required to self-quarantine, regardless of whether or not masks were worn at the time of the exposure.
Exception: In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes a student who was within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student where both students were engaged in the consistent and correct use of well-fitting face masks.
6. If there is a positive COVID case and all close-contact children were properly masking, do the close-contact children need to quarantine?
No, as long as the infected individual was also correctly and consistently wearing a well-fitting face mask. Additionally, fully vaccinated close contacts are not required to quarantine if they do not have symptoms after
exposure to COVID-19. Fully vaccinated close contacts should wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure.
7. If there is a positive COVID case, and any one of the close-contact children is not properly masked, but the other(s) is/are, do the other children need to quarantine?
If the COVID-positive child is properly masked, then only unmasked close-contact children need to quarantine. If the COVID-positive child is not properly masked, then all children need to quarantine. Again, fully vaccinated close contacts are not required to quarantine if they do not have symptoms after exposure to COVID-19. Fully vaccinated close contacts should wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure.
8. What is the consequence for not isolating positive cases or quarantining non-exempt close contacts?
Continued and increased community spread of COVID-19, which prolongs the need to practice mitigation measures.
9. What is involved in contact tracing?
All COVID cases must be fully investigated, and their contacts identified. This is the only way that appropriate decisions about isolation and quarantine can be made, and these decisions are critical for stopping the spread of the disease. Ultimately, it is the health department’s responsibility to ensure that this occurs. However, Bedford County Schools can assist in making this more efficient and effective by aiding the health department in notifying close contacts.
If you receive a notification from your student's school that your child has possibly been exposed to a COVID-19 positive case, this does NOT mean that you must keep your child out of school. It does mean that you should monitor closely for any COVID-19 symptoms and contact your medical provider if one or more symptoms appear or if you have concerns about your child's health. Guidance regarding quarantine and isolation must be obtained from the health department or from your healthcare provider.
The following symptoms of COVID-19 may include the following, according to the Tennessee Department of Health: new cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, fever (> 100.4 F), chills congestion/runny nose, sore throat, headache, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, fatigue.
To enroll your student in temporary remote learning, please follow instructions here.
BCS information and guidance regarding COVID-19 comes from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Education.