Elementary School mom stands across from school to let parents know of positive test.

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — The numbers revealed by Knoxville hospitals on last Thursday were startling enough. Over 107 people on ventilators, hospitals with no beds, and diversion of overnight surgeries due to COVID-19. Then the news reported over 8600 kids were absent in one day.  The Knox County School system has left the wearing of masks to parent discretion and there is no social distancing or contact tracing being done in the schools.

For many parents across the city and county it is too much to bear and they have begun taking matters in their own hands after calls to the schools about positive results are not shared past the person who answers the call.

Using social media, even standing on the street corners across from their schools, parents are letting other parents know their child has COVID-19. They are sharing the classes and activities their children are in with those who ask;  all in an effort to let them know in case their children need testing. Their efforts don’t stop there.

Parents have begun a grass movement, calling for sick outs: keeping their children home from school intentionally to send a message to the  school board that their “do nothing’” action is not an answer. Parents also have begun planning to protest at school board meetings until the current policy is changed.

The option to keep kids home and let them learn virtually is not an option this year because of new state guidelines. Kids who opted for virtual this year had to be withdrawn from the Knox County school system totally and were not eligible to participate in sports or extra curricular activities. This leaves children who stay in school and become ill with no option to keep up while recovering from the virus as their teachers who contract the virus are not allowed to teach from home, which further widens the learning gap created when the virus first shut down the schools in 2020.

Currently school administrators will only send a standard email or text stating there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in their school. In an effort to share information, the Knox County Health Department has begun sharing information weekly about the numbers of active cases  of student and staff reported to them with the school system using a dashboard system.

To the rising tide of angry parents, the surge of new cases every day that have already broken records set in the previous surge; is a strong indication, enough is enough and something more must be done.