The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidelines Monday to help protect Giles County teachers and school staff from COVID-19.
Policies vary for school districts across Tennessee as far as returning to in-person learning after winter break, but even for virtual learning, some staff members may need to report to a physical building to keep those services running.
The CDC said school districts should implement flexible sick leave that teachers should feel confident using without the fear of retaliation. Districts should also allow teachers more control over how they carry out their work in light of the challenging circumstances.
Those at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness should be given the opportunity to work from home, even if that means temporarily shifting their job responsibilities.
The CDC recommends improving ventilation and filtration systems in school buildings. Also, staggering schedules is suggested, as is closing off communal spaces.
The Tennessee Education Association analyzed COVID-19 infection rates and found for school staff, their infection rates are consistently higher, sometimes double, the rates of the communities they serve.
The CDC also has specific guidelines for school nurses, food service and cleaning staff, athletics coaches, and bus drivers.