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After Williamson County Superintendent Jason Golden revealed that he was being quarantined via Zoom, the school board members passionately expressed their concerns and opinions about the reopening. in a meeting on Thursday.

According to WCS Communications Director Carol Birdsong, Golden was quarantined because a family member tested positive for COVID-19.

On Friday, the district confirmed that Golden had tested positive for COVID-19.

“He will continue working remotely over the next few days while following the health department’s procedures,” the district said via social media. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a 14-day quarantine.

Looking optimistic, Golden also announced during the meeting on Thursday that he will decide on Friday night whether students in grades 3-12 will return to school on August 24.

Students in grades 3-12 will engage in distance learning during the first two weeks of school, while Pre-K-2 classes returned to school last Friday, following the district’s reopening plan. The district will use the county’s coronavirus contagion measure and the guidance of health professionals to help identify remote or on-campus schools.

“If there is any possible way, we need to go back to school,” said Dan Cash, district 2 council member.

Cash made a fervent plea for the struggles of parents – expressed in “hundreds of hundreds” of emails to the board of directors – to be heard and authenticated.

“When I read these emails, I did not see any complaints,” Cash said. “These people are reaching out from their hearts. These are real concerns.”

Cash says some parents and students are reaching their limit with distance learning.

“We have maximized,” he said. “The level of stress is high. These students are worried. These kids are trying to do something on the computer, and they’re not doing it right, and in the end they ask ‘what’s wrong with me?’ How much can they take? “

Board member Candy Emerson, District 8, joined Cash in advocating for parents and students who are experiencing “stress” from distance learning, wearing a mask, riding the bus, being separate from you and work full-time while facilitating distance learning.

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“We’re missing the boat. We need to take it seriously and do something about it,” Emerson said.

However, school board member Eric Welch said the district must rely on science in its reopening plan.

“We all want kids back in the classroom, but we have to do it in a safe and sustainable way,” he said. “Doesn’t mean we are not listening or compassionate (if we don’t do what our parents want).”

Many parents are asking their children to go back to school, while others say they aren’t comfortable yet.

The Williamson County Back-to-School Parent Group, with more than 4,000 members on Facebook, strongly supports the return of children to school. Holding signs, nearly 100 parents gathered to get to school on the campus on the lawns of the Williamson County Administrative Complex last week.

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The group’s founder and spokesperson, Mary Kate Brown, says parents agree with health professionals and state leaders who advocate for schools to reopen.

“If state health commissioner Lisa Piercy feels comfortable sending her children back to school, if the CDC recommends that the children go back to school and if the governor is advocating for the children to go back to school, why are they? I can’t, “said Brown.

The Recall Williamson Facebook group, formed in June, threatened to pursue legal action to remove school board members who voted in favor of the masking regulation for children.

“We are a divided community on this issue,” said Nancy Garrett, District 12. “It was a challenging time to lead. This is a challenging time for us. “

However, she said she believes in the district’s plan.

“I don’t think everything is a carpet of roses, but I haven’t heard that this doesn’t work, and I haven’t heard this is insurmountable,” Garrett said.

School board member Jay Galbreath, District 6, also called the state coronavirus data collection “flawed”.

The Tennessee Department of Health defines “recovered” as people, “people who have been at least 21 days after the first screening that confirmed their illness.” However, the CDC recommends quarantine for 10 days in addition to all symptoms and keeping the temperature normal.

Galbreath suggests that the number of active cases in the state and county may be less than what is reported by the state, and therefore a lower spread rate.

Golden acknowledged on the first day of school that the district was unable to meet all of its distinct social standards.

“We can’t do that. We can’t create a social gap in the classroom and on the bus,” Golden said, adding that they will do it when it’s possible.

Currently, classrooms in K-2 are divided into two rooms supervised by the classroom teacher and the assistant teacher in response to social distancing guidelines.

“It’s really about quality rather than form … and how we can serve students on campus,” Golden said.

He stressed that everyone wants to see children go to school. During the meeting, Golden also said that personnel issues were of his major concern, including the lack of assistant teachers, technology staff, and replacements.

“I think each of you said some valuable things. This is difficult. This is a pandemic. But to get past this, we have to work together,” he said.

“I see brighter days ahead.”

Kerri Bartlett covers issues that affect children, families, education and the government in Williamson County. Her can be reached at kbartlett@gannett.com, 615-308-8324 or @ keb1414 on Twitter.

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