All school campuses are back open upon students' return from fall break on Tuesday, according to the Williamson County Schools central office.
Prior to fall break, within just one week, three high schools — Page, Independence and Summit — closed their campuses due to the high numbers of quarantined students and staff. Additionally, all or some of the students at Hillsboro Middle and Crockett Elementary had transitioned to remote learning.
It seems fall break gave the schools enough time to recover, as the only students learning remotely as of Tuesday are those still in quarantine due to close contact with confirmed positive cases, according to WCS Communications Director Carol Birdsong.
Currently, the schools most affected by the virus continue to be high schools. The district updated its COVID-19 data on Tuesday, showing that the five schools with the most students and staff out are Page High (nine cases and 257 quarantines), Independence High (16 cases and 163 quarantines), Ravenwood High (nine cases and 93 quarantines), Franklin High (14 cases and 86 quarantines), and Summit and Centennial tied for fifth, both with fewer than five cases and 74 quarantines.
While Hillsboro and Crockett are both fully open, their quarantine numbers remain in the upper 60s, and each school has five confirmed positive cases.
Lauren Schuster, a nurse supervisor for the Williamson County Health Department, shared on Monday during a county meeting that the increased effect on high schools may have to do with the fact that high school students tend to move around the school more than elementary students.
“An elementary school student is in a classroom with the same children, the same teachers, all day long. They eat lunch together. They attend their related arts classes together. There’s very little movement throughout the school,” she said. “There’s less opportunity for extracurricular activities, so there’s a lot less exposure going in those types of environments, whereas, for a high schooler, we’re seeing a lot more mobility throughout the school.”
While WCS does not report exact numbers for schools with fewer than five cases due to confidentiality laws, the district's report shows that it has anywhere between 90 and 153 confirmed positive cases, which is between 14% and 24% of the current active case count in Williamson County, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
To learn more about the school's COVID-19 data, visit WCS.edu/COVID-19.