A Maryville third grader tested positive for COVID-19 after a Monday, June 22, trip to Springbrook Pool with the Foothills Elementary School Adventure Club.
The student passed a Monday morning temperature check at the extended care program but was sent home when the midday check registered more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Maryville City Schools Director Mike Winstead.
Wednesday morning, June 24, the girl’s family notified the school she had tested positive for the coronavirus, he said, and the school district contacted the county Health Department.
Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, the program began notifying other families to pick up their children, Winstead said in a phone interview Friday, June 26,shortly after he had arrived in Florida.
The program remained closed the rest of the week, and deep cleaning was performed in all areas the Adventure Club uses at Foothills Elementary, including the use of a fogging machine.
“We did what our management plan and the Health Department says we should do,” Winstead said. The Health Department will be responsible for other contact tracing.
About a dozen third graders considered in a “high-exposure” group with the child will not be allowed to return to the program until July 6 — a 14-day quarantine. Others may return Monday, June 29, to the club, which usually has about 45 students.
Maryville’s Adventure Club at the three elementary and two intermediate schools has about 160 participants this summer, Winstead said.
While the program canceled other usual summer field trips, the children have gone to pools before they were opened to the public.
Foothills goes to Springbrook, he said, and the students from John Sevier and Sam Houston elementaries go to John Sevier Pool.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states, “Currently, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through recreational water. However, it is important to limit close contact with people outside of your home when visiting public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds, as well as natural bodies of water — like beaches and lakes — to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Maryville City Schools does not mandate that students in the Adventure Club wear face masks.
“They can, but they’re not required,” Winstead said.
Alcoa’s STARS program has about 15 to 20 children this summer but is not taking any trips, Alcoa City Schools Director Becky Stone said.
Blount County’s Friends program has been averaging about 245 students this summer. Although they have not taken any trips yet, a pool trip is planned for July 7, according to Blount County Schools Director Rob Britt.
Neither Blount County nor Alcoa has had a reported COVID-19 case in its summer program.
Educators’ plans for the 2020-21 school year anticipate coronavirus cases.
“When school reopens and we have 5,000 kids and 900 employees and all the interactions going on, having a positive case is inevitable,” Winstead said. “The key is just controlling interactions and minimizing the impact of a positive case.”
All three public school districts expect to have most students back in their classrooms by the end of next month, with some families opting for virtual learning.
The districts plan to provide computers and lessons for students who choose virtual learning, but families that withdraw for home schooling will not receive that support from the public schools.