Tell Hamilton County:
Reopen Schools Safely
Dear [Your Local School Board Member & Lawmakers]:
We should reopen schools when it is safe. Health experts have regularly said that depends on the prevalence of COVID spread in the community and whether schools have have all the appropriate COVID mitigation measures and resources they need such as mask requirements, adequate ventilation, distancing and other interventions.
The state's slow vaccination rollout combined with emerging new strains of COVID-19 (discovered in Chattanooga) we've yet to fully understand should be reason to set reopening school conditions based on the prevalence of COVID, funding our schools as much as any other state, and progress vaccinating teachers.
Bottom line: if we want schools to do their part, then the county and the state must first do theirs to ensure safe conditions for children, and teachers, and their families.
This is supported by a January 10th White House COVID Task Force Memo, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, thousands of Tennessee health experts, and Harvard Global Health Institute's School Reopening Guidance.
1. "low incidence AND stability." A major challenge is the silent spread of COVID-19 through populations. The virus can be transmitted in the 2-3 days before symptoms begin (the presymptomatic window) and can be spread even by infected persons who never develop symptoms at all (asymptomatic people). This is not a pandemic that can be controlled simply by isolating symptomatic people.
2. classrooms must achieve 4-6 air changes per hour of ‘clean’ air through any combination of ventilation and filtration (or outdoor classrooms).
3. social distancing
4. robust quarantine policies and contact tracing practices so that parents, school staff know that people coming in contact with COVID are isolating, and not endangering children, teachers or families.
5. Mask and distancing requirements.
Can I count on the school board to reopen our schools based on the county's progress vaccinating teachers and families? Can I count on the school board to reopen our schools based on the prevalence of COVID-19 spread AND the guarantee of the safety measures health experts have said are essential?