West Carroll schools close Thursday, Friday due to COVID
By Caleb Revill
Schools in the West Carroll Special School District will be closed Thursday Jan. 20 and Friday Jan. 21 due to a heavy increase in COVID cases among students, faculty and staff.
Superintendent Preston Caldwell cited increasing COVID cases and quarantines among staff as a primary reason for the closure.
“It’s not the number of students (testing positive) that makes it difficult to host school,” Caldwell said. “What causes us to close down are the positives for teachers and staff where you can’t cover classes. We’ve reached significant numbers in faculty and staff being out.”
As of Wednesday, Caldwell said that 14 staff members and 154 students tested positive or were quarantined for COVID-19. In addition to that, several principals and nurses had tested positive.
“Once you reach a point where you can’t safely host school, that’s why we’ve cancelled,” Caldwell said.
In a board of education meeting on Jan. 13, Caldwell announced that he had moved schools from phase 3 to phase 2 due to rising COVID cases. Phase 2 restricts school visitations and close contact between students at lunch by feeding students in their individual classrooms rather than in the cafeteria.
Caldwell said that WCSSD has been granted a waiver by the Tennessee commissioner of education not to use stockpile days for school closures Thursday and Friday. He said that concern for everyone’s safety remains the number one factor in deciding to close schools.
“Safety of our students, faculty and staff is the most concerning thing,” Caldwell said. “Prayers and thoughts for all of our people facing COVID issues. We’re hoping they’re okay and are hoping they can return safely.”