Northwest Elementary cancels classes for remainder of week; will transition to remote learning for all students

Classes at Northwest Elementary School will be closed for the rest of the week.

Cocke County Assistant Director of Schools Casey Kelley announced Tuesday evening, "Out of an abundance of caution, we will be exercising our COVID protocol. Northwest Elementary will transition to remote learning for all students (Wednesday through Friday). All before-school tutoring, after school, Save the Children activities, and athletics are canceled for the remainder of the week."

Kelly said the school system is doing everything it can to stop the spread of the virus, and the decision to close the classrooms came after six individuals, students and staff tested positive for COVID.

"Since July we have said that intermittent closures of classrooms or buildings should be expected. We work every day with the health department to conduct contact tracing of every possible exposure. We look for those who have been within six feet, for at least 15 minutes, of a known positive COVID case."

He said the system does not diagnose or order an individual to quarantine, that is the responsibility of medical personnel.

It was determined that individuals at the schools had become symptomatic over the weekend and then tested positive for COVID.

"We consulted with the health department and the decision was made to close the clossrooms," Kelly said.

Friday had already been scheduled as a remote school day.

Cocke County has had 926 cases of the coronavirus resulting in 12 deaths.