SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department issued a new health directive which requires schools to report positive COVID-19 cases to parents.
According to the new directive, schools will be required to notify parents, families, staff and other students when a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed in the school.
The Shelby County Health Department said they will also begin releasing the number of children who are confirmed to be positive at the district level.
“The Shelby County Health Department will continue to expand the information that is reported out to the public, and in particular, its communications with communities and families at risk,” said Dr. Alisa Haushalter with the Shelby County Health Department. “These amendments ensure that critical information is shared with at-risk individuals so that they can take appropriate action to protect themselves, their families, and their loved ones. Also, these changes to the Health Directive will put us on the path to creating a more uniform approach at the various schools around Shelby County.”
Haushalter said typically they are not gonna release if that is a child or adult, just that they have had contact and what action needs to be taken because of that particular risk. Now districts like Shelby County, municipalities and private schools will all have to notify parents, families, and at risk staff and students within hours when Covid 19 cases occur on campus.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said the goal is to be transparent and provide information quickly to all parties involved.
“We want to make sure everyone who is at risk of contracting COVID 19 receives information as fast as possible,” Harris said. “And this kind of information should be and will be shared even if there is only a single case.”
For weeks, health and school officials have cited privacy issues when it comes to saying exactly where COVID cases are popping up. But now the new directive says the health department will regularly distribute the number of cases of children who contact COVID by school district lines.
At the same time, they said one case does not mean every student in a school or class will be considered a contact.
“If there is a child who is asymptomatic and had a mask on and really did not have contact with anybody in that 6 foot parameter, it’s possible that there would not be any contacts identified,” Haushalter said.