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.
Union County Business & Professional Association will host its annual Prayer Breakfast as a drive-in event at Milan Baptist Church on Good Friday, April 2.
Pastor Jody Winstead will offer the prayer and the message. The choir will provide music. Members of the church will direct the parking.
Tindell's Farm House Bakery will offer a modified breakfast of juice or water, sausage-egg casserole, and a slice of honey bun cake for $10.
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.
The Union County Farmers Market is getting ready for a new season. Thanks to recent grants, they will hire staff to help improve the market. Here are the three new positions:
This top-level staff position is a year-round part-time job. The position requires a dependable person who can plan, organize and promote events and communicate well with the public.
The HMMS Boy's Basketball Team ended their season with a 48-46 loss to #1 seed Alcoa in the Elite Eight of the AAA Sectional Tournament on February 2 at John Sevier Middle School in Kingsport. The Red Devils advanced to the Sectional Tournament with a third place game win over Maryville in the District Tournament.
One of Plainview Chief of Police Eddie Muncey’s favorite activities as a young boy was playing baseball and, like many young boys, he dreamed of being a professional baseball player.
Muncey also had a great admiration for police officers and was enthralled with the lights, the sirens, and the dignity of the uniform. Growing up in Union County Muncey played baseball until high school when his priorities changed and his new passion was to get a set of wheels. He got his first job at Hensley’s IGA and with his earnings bought his first pickup truck.
Several years ago, when painted furniture rose in popularity, Jeannie Cox just had to try it. Her first project was a small side table that she found a delight to do and it turned out great. She laughs and says, “Of course there were many disasters along the way!”
The best-kept secret of success is that failure is part of the formula.
A drug increasingly being prescribed for treating sciatica has been revealed to be no better than placebo, in research recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers also found that people taking the drug pregabalin reported nearly twice as many adverse effects as those receiving the placebo reported.
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.
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.
“Jesus Loves Me” is called a child’s song, but I sometimes still sing it for myself, even as a grownup. The lyrics are by Ana Bartlett Warner but they were first published in 1860 by her sister Susan Warner as a poem in a novel entitled Say and Seal. The music was later added by William Bradbury in 1862. In the novel, the words are spoken to comfort a dying child.
I especially love the beginning lines from the first stanza:
Jesus loves me this i know,
for the Bible tells me so
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.
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.
I remember well the first time I suffered a back problem. I was a teenager, probably about sixteen, and I was at the home of Marie, my youngest sibling on my father’s side. I was playing with her son Billy, my nephew, who was a few years younger than me. Other of my nieces/nephews/Billy’s cousins might have been there, but I only recall for sure the two of us.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that doctors avoid prescribing drugs, especially narcotics, for patients with acute or subacute low back pain. Patients should be treated first with non-pharmaceutical therapies, such as superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation.
Evergreen trees are more prominent in the winter in our area, being the only bright color seen among the bleak, bare hardwood trees. Besides their visual appeal, evergreens provide important food and shelter for many wildlife species. Common evergreen trees in our area include several species of pine, cedar, and hemlock.
What are the makings of someone in a prominent position? The short answer is, there is no singular path. As a young man struggling to find his way, Kevin Brown admits he had poor study habits in high school, preferring to goof off; that was until he worked a few manual labor summer jobs, which was good incentive to “work smarter, not harder.” Brown realized that a good education was necessary to broaden his scope of career opportunities. He didn’t know what he wanted to be, but he did know that he wanted to help people.
Maynardville Elementary has announced their 4-H Poster Contest Winners.
For 4th grade the first place winner is Kenny Greene.
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.
Patients with improper back position have movement control impairment. They often have difficulties in controlling the position of their back when sitting down, standing or doing back bending. Impaired movement control is often caused by an earlier episode of back pain and may result in chronic lower back pain. The situation is problematic because patients don’t realize that their incorrect back position is provoking pain.
Here in the south, we love our cousins. My family is no exception. In fact, I have been surrounded by cousins for most of my life. They were my first playmates and best friends and I am still close to many of them. But there is a little oddity with these relatives. While I have no first cousins, it seems as if I have countless second and third cousins.
Scratching your head?
I recently received an email with the phrase, “It’s weird being the same age as old people.”
My father had three full sisters who lived to maturity—Duskie, Fleetie and Vallie. One of them was once talking about their names. One sister said, “They gave Frank [my dad], Fred and Faustine normal names.” Another sister replied, “Well, Mother sure whopped it to us!” My uncle replied, “Who ever heard of a man named Purse?”
Life lists are written documentations of things seen and identified. If you’re a birder you keep a list of birds you’ve personally seen. If you’re a railroad enthusiast, you keep up with what trains companies you’ve seen going down the tracks. In England they even have clubs for airplane watchers. These folks gather up around airports and watch planes with binoculars, making security people very nervous.
Horseradish has always been a favorite of mine. It goes so well with roast beef, but so do mushrooms. Here are two sauces featuring each. Steak always has more flavor, it seems to me, when it is topped with a mushroom sauce. I hope you know how well horseradish goes with a piece of leftover roast roast.
Srinivasa R. Chintalapudi M.D., known by his patients as “Dr. Chinta,” is a third-generation physician. As a boy in Vijayawada, India, a young Chinta was inspired by his uncle, a country doctor whose hospital served a rural community. Chinta was not interested in watching tv or movies and many other youthful activities; he preferred spending his summers with his uncle, the country doctor who inspired him. Chinta enjoyed carrying his uncle’s medical bag as he accompanied him on house calls.
The Union County High School Lady Patriots Wrestling Team competed and won both the East Region Duals and the Traditional Tournament.
Union County High School students Cade Ailor, Caden Walker, Lakin Brock, and Kayla Faulkner competed in the Tennessee FFA Quiz Bowl Contest. All students are members of the Horace Maynard FFA Chapter.
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.
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:
Many patients live with low back pain that radiates to the buttock, groin, thigh, and even knees. The challenge for patients, and often their doctors, is determining the origin of the pain—the hip, the spine, or both. A new article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons outlines the identical symptoms associated with hip and spine pain and discusses the diagnostic steps and tests required to treat them appropriately.
I thought once I became an adult, I wouldn’t have to climb any more. Boy, was I wrong.
As a child, I didn’t like to have to ask for things I wanted on the kitchen counter or in my closet, so my parents bought me a little stepping stool. I absolutely loved it. It was red with a poem written on top in large white letters. I can’t remember the exact words, but the poem went something like this: I use this stool to reach things I couldn’t and lots of things I shouldn’t.
The Union County Public School System lost one of its very best teachers to retirement this year. Not only was Ms. Kerrie Scruggs a wonderful educator, she was a caring person and good friend. Ms. Kerrie’s husband Steve wrote a book, and my fellow Gideon brother gave me a copy. The book explained why Steve’s father always ate a good lunch at work. I’ll return to that thought shortly.
The geology of our area is unique in that it creates two worlds: a surface world and an underworld of caves, water, and stone. The type of terrain we live on is called "karst" and is characterized by rocky ground, caves, and sinkholes, underground streams, and areas where surface streams disappear into the ground. This type of terrain is the result of the eroding effects of underground water on limestone.
We all know and love the cheese dip made with Velveeta cheese. There are only three ingredients in that dip. This recipe is longer, but you are more apt to have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. Be sure to add the cinnamon. That spice goes especially well with chili powder, Three cups is a lot of dip, but it will go fast.
Mayor Jason Bailey unveiled the new voting technology for Union County Commission at the regular meeting on January 25, 2021. The mayor, his staff and Maynardville Librarian Chantay Collins assisted the commissioners in a practice session to learn the process of clicks to make motions and vote on business items.
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...
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.
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-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 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-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 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 – 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.
Howard Edward Summers – age 88 of Knoxville, passed away peacefully Friday, February 26, 2021 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. He was a member of Colonial Heights Church.
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-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 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.