Health department: Schools are not spreaders of COVID-19

School Board Meeting December 10, 2020

“Union County Schools are not spreading COVID-19” was the message Dr. Jimmy Carter, Director of Union County Public Schools, stated as he updated the Board of Education at the December 10 board meeting on the status of COVID-19 in the schools.
Carter asked the regional health department if there was any evidence that COVID is spreading inside the school system and the answer was a resounding “No.” The evidence suggests that the cases are coming from home into school.
Because of state quarantine requirements, one student with a positive test can result in the quarantine of 60 students while one teacher with COVID-19 can cause a minimum of six students in quarantine.
As of the meeting date, about 25 percent of the tests in the county were reported as positive with 11 active student cases and three active cases for employees, with 236 school students and staff in quarantine.
Carter continued to explain that everyone was being more conscience of social distancing. He related how a recent situation at HMMS caused all certified central office administrators including Carter to become substitute teachers in the classrooms and the cafeteria.
He noted that “our students are better off in school than another week of Christmas break,” so Union County will continue the normal schedule. He praised the staff for being “absolutely amazing, just wonderful — cool, calm, not a lot of frustration”.
He stated, “I don't want to be a follower,” alluding to some nearby systems who have closed early and added to the time out of school for Christmas break. He reminded the board that UCPS had opened on time with a plan in place that was “not easy, not fun, but we adhered to the plan.”
He further admitted, “Yes, we are struggling in some areas, but I want to look at each school and the system and make decisions on the evidence.”
Carter reported that UCHS had quite a bit of difficulty earlier on the day of the meeting. He commented that schools want and need to be open, but that he may have to make some tough decisions if the number of quarantined individuals continues to increase. (Indeed, UCHS closed earlier than anticipated before Christmas break.)
Another difficult issue was pointed out by UCEA President Carolyn Murr. She noted that new teachers were being unduly penalized by the lengthy mandatory quarantine since they have no sick leave stockpile from which to draw if they have to be in quarantine past the 10-day limit.
Carter responded that the issue was simply an economic one. The CARES Act, a federal law, maximizes the number of COVID quarantine days that can be reimbursed at two weeks or 10 days per employee. The system cannot afford to pay the teacher's salary and the substitute, so new teachers may have their pay docked if they have to quarantine longer or serve multiple quarantines.
Only the regional health department has the power to reduce the length of quarantine to 10 days or less. The health department does the follow-up call regarding a positive test, then school nurses complete the contact tracing including the associated paperwork.
According to Carter, he would welcome a legal plan that would not jeopardize new teacher pay nor adversely affect the system finances. Finally, Carter shared that the system is ready with several contingency plans if the evidence warrants a change.
The system is making a calendar change for the return to school after Christmas break. Every Wednesday will continue to be a distance learning day. This day allows teachers to not only address distance learning but also do the bookkeeping, testing, and training that the program requires. January 4 will remain an administrative day. January 5 and 6 will be distance learning for all.
January 7-15 only half of the students will attend in-school in order to make social distancing more achievable.
January 18 will have no school because of the Martin Luther King holiday.
On January 19, regular classes will resume.
For elementary and middle school, the situation remains fluid with students going back and forth between distance learning and in-school,
For UCHS, the situation is different with the same system as before used after Christmas.
Snow days have caused some confusion. The news media misreported a recent distance learning day as a snow day. The system will still occasionally have a snow day.
But when a board member questioned the need for snow days, Carter responded that there are students who cannot do distance learning because of no access to the internet, but the system can still serve the students.
Perhaps the future will bring no need for snow days and universal distance learning will fill the gap.
The board approved two contracts. In the first, The New Teacher Project (TNTP) had invited the Union County school system to participate in a special grant opportunity only offered to 20 of the Tennesse school systems. Because of this professional development grant, the money originally budgeted for K-2 English Language Arts Professional Development was repurposed to K-8 Math. Therefore, the contract with TNTP could be extended to February 2021 with no additional cost to the school system. The other contract defines when and how often attendance needs to be taken at Tennessee Virtual Academy.
After months of discussion, planning, and engineering estimates, the HVAC system for the hallways of Luttrell Elementary was approved for bidding.
Board member Marty Gibbs from 1st district asked that the rest of the HVAC system be reviewed for any needed upgrades also. Johnson Control has estimated the project to be about $200,000. A budget addition will be considered later under capital projects.
Another capital project that will be partially funded through federal funds is a technology upgrade to purchase interactive panels for Paulette Elementary similar to those used in the other elementary schools. The local amount approved for the project was $30,400 for a total cost of $120,000. Carter also reported that the capital project at UCHS has been completed.
The board approved several Tennessee School Board Association-recommended board policy changes on first reading. Changes include a Title IX Coordinator, deciding Title IX Complaints on the basis of a preponderance of evidence, zero tolerance no longer requiring alternative education, a child abuse coordinator at each school, and the addition of dating violence in the Family Life Education curriculum.
A new state requirement mandates that all teachers must have background checks, even those who were teaching before the law changed. With no local vendor to provide the service, American Business Equipment, a local business also known for its printing services under Thunder Road Printing & Graphics Design, agreed to become a local provider.
The board approved the Local Education Agency School Compliance plan to have all teacher background checks complete by December 31, 2021, and thereby keep the system compliant under the law.
At the director's request, the board approved a custodial position for Paulette and later for the employee to fill in for quarantined or absent custodians at a cost below $30,000, including all benefits and fixed costs.
The board also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Camelot for mental health services. Camelot will bill the student's insurance, work with children coming from residential into the school setting, provide for psychological services many times due to child abuse, and offer home services for families. All services will be done with parental consent at no cost to the school system.
Dr. Lauren Effler recognized Debbie Churchill and Dolly Sands for their volunteer efforts to provide needed supplies to the schools each month. These ladies, known as the Secret Santas and the Angel Ladies, visit each school monthly, inquire as to what the students or teachers need for learning to be successful, and then fulfill the wishes.
The board held an executive session to discuss litigation after the meeting. The next regular meeting will be on Thursday, January 14, at 6:30 p.m.

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UCBPA to host drive-in prayer breakfast

Picture of a cross with words telling about UCBPA Prayer Breakfast at Milan Church

UCBPA Prayer Breakfast

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Teachers and all certified personnel paid on the teacher scale will receive a salary bonus this spring due to action at the regular February meeting of the Union County Board of Education. Director Jimmy Carter explained that Governor Lee had proposed a starting teacher salary of $40,000 for the state teacher pay scale.

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Mathematics teacher by degree, steam engine locomotive engineer by dreams

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Upcycling at its finest: Jeannie Cox of Rustic-Re-Do

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No drug relief in sight for those suffering from sciatica

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Frank Carter, the legend

Country Connections by James and Ellen Perry
Circa 1954: Rose Hill School, five miles north of Maynardville, Tennessee, on Highway 33
Jerald, Johnny Milton, Howard, Dan, Jerry, and Larry, let me tell you what I heard the teachers talking about. I just heard the big room teacher tell the little room teacher that Frank Carter will be here Monday in the big room ’til he gets all the big boys straightened out. I heard that he has three or four boys beginning with Ken to get a lesson in humility by his paddle Monday morning.

Is today Wednesday or Thursday?

That may seem like a strange question, but when you are in your nineties and have been retired as long as I have, you would understand. Retirement is not all it’s cracked up to be. Oh yes, I have Social Security and a small pension from my husband’s work. Money is not the problem. Mine is a “people” problem.

Old home site in Big Ridge Park

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Chicken and Rice Cordon Bleu

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Jesus loves me

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I especially love the beginning lines from the first stanza:
Jesus loves me this i know,
for the Bible tells me so

Ain't Gonna Do It

My poor mother. I still remember the look of frustration on her face. No, she wasn’t trying to get me take a bath, or worse, sit still. She was trying to get me to take my medicine.
As a child, I had a mental block about taking pills because I was terrified of getting of getting choked on them. Had that happened to me? Nope. Had I seen that happen to anybody else? Nope. It was a byproduct of my overactive imagination.

Flee the wrath to come

At some point during my high school years, I remember attending an assembly that seemed to occur on the spur of a moment. At least to my memory there was no announcement other than the one given for us to go to the auditorium.
I don’t remember if girls were present at this assembly. I do remember that Principal Joe Day introduced to us the speaker, a man with a common-sounding name. He turned out to be anything but common.
The speaker’s name was Jack Brown. He told us his life story that day.

A Very Good Day

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The American College of Physicians guidelines for treating low back pain recommend chiropractic before drugs

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Winter Survival With Evergreens

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Pasta Bean Soup

This is a good cold weather soup that's hearty enough for supper. To make it more hearty, saute a 1/2 pound of ground beef, breaking into small chunks, then add to other ingredients just before simmering. It reminds me of an Olive Garden soup

Kevin Brown, Executive Director Willow Ridge Center

Kevin Brown, Executive Director
Willow Ridge Center

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Maynardville Elementary 4-H Poster Winners

Savannah Weaver, Emmie Hardin, McKinley Wyrick and Kenny Greene

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For 5th grade, Savannah Weaver took first place. In second place is Emmie Hardin and in third place, McKinley Wyrick.
In order for a poster to qualify the students must promote 4-H on the poster and include the 4-H emblem as specified by the national 4-H guidelines.

One More Demise

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Patients Don’t Realize That Their Improper Back Position Is Provoking Pain

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Countless Cousins

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Scratching your head?

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It’s Weird Being the Same Age as Old People

I recently received an email with the phrase, “It’s weird being the same age as old people.”

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Life Listing, a Natural Hobby

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Caring Medical Center - Caring Medical Doctor

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Lady Patriots Wrestling Team Takes Titles

Pictured are: Assistant coach Bobby Hampshire, Jaden Blanton, Kenlei Johnson, Kayla Faulkner, Coach James Ramirez, Brianna Cook, Angel Dyer, Leslie White, assistant coach Glenn Helton. Center front: Emily Shultz.

The Union County High School Lady Patriots Wrestling Team competed and won both the East Region Duals and the Traditional Tournament.

Quiz Bowl Competitors

Quiz Bowl Competitors pictured left to right: Cade Ailor, Lakin Brock, Kayla Faulkner, and Caden Walker

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Orville Gets Credentials

Pictured left to right are: District Attorney General Jared Effler, MacKenzie Adkins, and Tracie Davis.

Pictured left to right are: District Attorney General Jared Effler, MacKenzie Adkins, and Tracie Davis.

On February 1, 2021, District Attorney General Jared Effler joined MacKenzie Adkins and Tracie Davis from the Campbell, Claiborne and Union County Children's Centers in presenting their facility dog, Orville, with his new badge. Orville joined the Children's Center this past October and has already proven himself to be an invaluable member of the team responsible for serving abused and neglected children. Orville reduces the stress and anxiety of child victims by accompanying them throughout the investigation and prosecution of their case.

Fleischmann Visits Chickamauga Lock

Photos courtesy of the Office of Rep. Chuck Fleischmann

Photos courtesy of the Office of Rep. Chuck Fleischmann

CHATTANOOGA, TN — U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03) issued the following statement after meeting with Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and touring the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project:

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Climbing Up

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Why Work?

Why Work?

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Cheesy Beef Dip

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County Commission voting virtually transparent

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UCBOE applies for schools to be vaccine site for employees

January 2021 School Board meeting

At the regular January meeting of the Union County Board of Education, Dr. Jimmy Carter announced that the school system is applying to be a distribution site for COVID-19 vaccine in order to vaccinate school employees according to the established age groups.

Events

Strengthening Families

Monday, March 8, 2021 - 12:00

The Strengthening Families Program has NEW virtual parenting classes starting in March! This is a FREE parenting education course for parents and caregivers, with additional "coached" home assignments for parents to work on strengthening relationships with their children. Classes in March will begin March 8th and 9th. Please see the links belong to register.

Monday's Afternoon Class: https://tnvoices.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUoc-mpqjwpGNAmv138rKJjzgSLQi...

Union County Board of Education

Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 18:00
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education is scheduled for Thursday, March 11, 2021 at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.

REGULAR WORKSHOP UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

Union County High School THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2021 6:00 p.m.

Agenda

Obituary

Joy Richardson Corum

Corum, Joy Richardson- age 72, born June 22 1948, passed away March 1, 2021 suddenly during an extended illness. Preceded in death by husband of 40 years, Richard Edgar Corum, infant daughter, Mary Ruth Corum. Maternal grandparents C.H. (Charlie) and Roma Jessee Laws. Paternal grandparents Luther and Susie Sexton Richardson. Parents Willie Edgar (Bill) and Louise Laws Richardson, Mother and Father-in-law Edna (Booker) and Edgar Corum. Nephew, Todd Richardson.

Betty Ann Sanders

Betty Ann Sanders-age 61 of Sharps Chapel passed away suddenly Saturday, February 27,2021 at her home. Preceded in death by son, Bradley Douglas; parents, John H. and Carrie (Sharp) Sanders; brother, Raymond Sanders; brother-in-law, Hershel Dyke.
Survivors: Grandson, Max Douglas of Knoxville; three sisters, Louise and Harold Brantley of Sharps Chapel; Barbara Dyke, Linda and Mike Lane of Knoxville; three brothers, Donnie and Sue Sanders; Bobby and Carolyn Sanders, all of Seymour; John Sanders of Maynardville. Several nieces and nephews along with a host of friends.

Nicole Lockhart

Nicole Marie (Shaner) Lockhart- age 48 of Luttrell passed away Saturday, February 27, 2021 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was a member of The Little Brown Church in Sharps Chapel. She was a longtime employee for the Union County Public Schools and worked for a wonderful boss, Eddie Graham.
She is preceded in death by her grandparents, Carl and Martha Shaner and Edward and Elnora Topp; father-in-law, Daniel Lockhart and brother-in-law, Matt Clevinger.

Delphine Evans Thomas

Delphine Evans Thomas-age 58 of Knoxville, formerly of Union County passed away Saturday, February 27, 2021 at Blount Memorial Hospital. Preceded in death by father, David Evans; mother, Loriene Nicely.
Survivors: brother, Ronnie Lynn Evans; sister, Crystal Gail Cooke; nephews, Daniel Evans, Cory Goforth, Benjamin Cecil, Adam Evans; aunt, Clayrissa Hill; uncle, Jimmy Evans along with a host of friends.

Misty Michelle Norton

Misty Norton-age 41 of Knoxville passed away Friday, February 19, 2021. Misty had a kind and generous heart and will be immensely missed!

She is preceded in death by her father, Ronnie Houston.

She is survived by her 9-year old daughter, Abigail Makenzie Guyton; mother, Angela Keck; brothers, Casey Houston and Matthew Houston; sister, Paige Houston along with several nieces and nephews.

No services are scheduled at this time, the family has chosen cremation. Donations can be made at the funeral home.

Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary in Maynardville.

Harold Wayne Beason

Harold Wayne Beason – 69 of Maynardville, passed away March 1, 2021 at North Knox Medical Center. He was a member of Community Baptist Church. Harold enjoyed painting, vintage cars, hunting and fishing.

He is preceded in death by parents, Paris “Short” and Sally Beason. Harold is survived by daughters, Tonia and Jason Heiskell and Shelby Beason and Conner Forward; grandson, Jacob Heiskell; sister, Linda and Steve Branum; nephew, Brandon Henry; and special friend, Carolyn Warwick.

Obituary of James C. Anderson

James C. Anderson age 50 of Blaine passed away on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at his home. He worked along side his dad, Bill Anderson and his nephew, Ty Hunley with Anderson Pump Service for many years. A 16-year veteran of the Blaine Volunteer Fire Department, James was best described as the guy who will go the last mile for you. A true hero that was always willing to help anyone, anywhere, anytime. He also enjoyed hunting and camping.

Carolyn Whitson Savage

Carolyn (Whitson) Savage-age 76 of Maynardville passed away Thursday, February 25, 2021 at her home surrounded by family. She was a member of Luttrell Baptist Church since 1988 and a retired employee of Union County School Systems. Preceded in death by parents, Ernest and Elsie Whitson; siblings, Shirley Monroe, Don Whitson, Danny Whitson; infant son, Robert Gregory and son-in-law, Charles Oliver.

LouAnn Jarvis

LouAnn McKinney Jarvis-age 86 of Washburn went home to be with the Lord Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at Island Home Healthcare. She was a member of Mount Eager Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Hubert and Clara McKinney; husband, Clay Jarvis; son, Allen Jarvis; sister, Eileen Buckner; brother, Ralph McKinney.
She leaves behind her daughter-in-law, Patricia Jarvis; granddaughter, Lori (Ronnie) Clay; great-granddaughters, Kalee and Emily; sisters-in-law, Ruth Thomas and Easter Mincey. Several nieces and nephews. Special friends, Larry, Bonnie and Cody Lay.

The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.