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How East Tennessee students are re-entering schools after COVID quarantine

The CDC has testing guidelines after school re-entry.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The CDC and Tennessee Department of Health recommend a 10-day quarantine for any student that is a close contact with a child who tests positive for the coronavirus, however that can be lowered with a negative coronavirus test. 

Under TDH guidelines, students can be tested after the 5th day of their quarantine and resume regular activities after the 7th day if they test negative. This guideline only applies to non-household contacts. 

In a K-12 school setting, the CDC and TDH define a close contact as two students, closer than 3 feet, without masks for more than 15 minutes. 

Students who have gotten the coronavirus vaccine or students who had previous infections are not required to quarantine unless they show symptoms of COVID-19. 

Four local school districts -- Sweetwater City Schools, Union County Schools, Campbell County Schools and Sevier County Schools -- said they offer a virtual learning option for students who are required to quarantine. 

The Tennessee Department of Education said the State Board of Education allowed school districts to offer virtual learning options to students required to quarantine. Those districts are required to monitor and report daily attendance. 

Anderson County Schools offers rapid coronavirus testing for their students, with a parent's permission for students younger than 16. The tests take 15 minutes to complete. 

Anderson County received the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) Grant from the Tennessee Department of Education, designed to help districts reopen schools. 

Blount County, Cocke County, Fentress County, Grainger County, Lenoir City and Alcoa City Schools also received that grant.

As of August 24, 643 Knox County kids aged 5-18 tested positive for the coronavirus.

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