Presently schools have a universal mask protocol in place. All students, faculty, staff, and guests are to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. This protocol will be evaluated every four weeks and any changes will be communicated promptly to parents. In addition, social distancing, hand washing, and enhanced ventilation is in place to the extent possible. Teachers are encouraged to conduct lessons outdoors when practical.
All diocesan schools require students and employees experiencing covid-like symptoms to remain at home until no longer symptomatic and Covid infection is ruled out. Parents are notified of exposures, and quarantine periods are instituted for close contacts until it can be determined the contact is not Covid-positive.
A close contact is any individual who was within 6’ of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period of time.
The CDC provides this exception to the K-12 indoor classroom setting:
Students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student are not considered close contacts if both the infected individual and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. This exception does not apply to adults.
The appropriate faculty and staff member(s) assist administrators or designees with contact-tracing to determine when and if students may have been exposed to another individual who tested positive for Covid-19. Teachers often keep logs of seating charts and group assignments for this reason. Anonymity of individuals experiencing illness is protected.
When close contacts of students and employees are identified, the school will alert parents and advise them to monitor symptoms and next steps to return to school.
Close contacts typically quarantine ten (10) days without testing; or on day seven (7) if a negative test is produced (which must occur on day 5 or later); or if a doctor releases the individual to return to work/school. Public health officials will advise positive persons of quarantine time. Some schools have a doctor’s release form to be used on that campus.
Students or employees who are Covid positive are expected to isolate for 10 days after symptoms first appeared. They may return to school if symptoms of Covid-19 are improving* and they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or more after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.
Immunocompromised persons or those who experience severe cases of Covid-19 may need to be home longer than 10 days after symptoms first appeared. Healthcare providers are to be consulted for proper guidance in these cases.
The Diocese of Nashville encourages parents and employees to determine whether the Covid-19 vaccination is beneficial for their children and themselves, in consultation with their healthcare provider. The Church supports the use of the FDA-approved vaccinations, including those with Emergency Use Authorized (EUA) status, in what Pope Francis calls an act of love to support the common good of community health.
No, the Executive Order was written for government-operated schools and ordered that “a student’s parent or guardian shall have the right to opt out of any order or requirement for a kindergarten through twelfth grade student to wear a face covering while at school, on a school bus, or at school functions, by affirmatively notifying in writing the local educational agency or personnel at the student’s school.”
Our Catholic schools are privately operated, therefore parents wishing to enroll in a diocesan Catholic school are to adhere to the governing rules at the school.