Back-to-school guidelines

Published July 20, 2021

We are very grateful for the tremendous efforts of our students, families, and employees during the 2020-2021 school year. Despite the enormous challenges of COVID-19, our schools and communities worked together to ensure that our educational mission continued safely.

We are working hard to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. At this time, our expectation is that many of the COVID-19 restrictions implemented a year ago will not be in place for this school year. Specifically, this means that:

• Masks will not be required for students, teachers or employees. These will be allowed at each individual’s discretion.

• All schools will resume in-person learning. There will not be a virtual option in the elementary and middle schools. There is a virtual option for high school students. Please contact your child’s high school for additional information.

• Schools will continue to promote proper hand washing and hygiene such as coughing into elbows and not sharing personal items. We will continue to disinfect high touch surfaces and objects within buildings at least daily.

• When possible, students will be physically distanced by 3 feet.

• We will not conduct contact tracing or daily temperature checks. Students and staff who test positive will be required to stay home for the prescribed days specified by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH). Public officials will contact families and provide the return date for each person. Students and staff living in a household with family members testing positive will also be required to stay home for the prescribed days specified by the TDOH.

• Visitors will be allowed in schools for meetings and assemblies. We ask that all meetings are prescheduled with the school to avoid mass crowds.

• Extracurricular activities and field trips will be allowed.

• There will be no restrictions on the number of spectators allowed in sporting events, unless the TSSAA issues a mandate. All tickets for sporting events will continue to be purchased through GoFan only.

• Students will return to eating in the cafeterias as done in the past. When families would like to bring in food for rewards or celebrations of their students, all items must still be pre-packaged and not homemade food. All students will automatically receive free breakfast and lunch this school year. However, it is very important that families continue to complete the free/reduced lunch application to be eligible for other state benefits.

• Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles as water fountains will remain closed for the school year. Touchless water bottle filling stations are available for students at all locations.

• We ask that students and staff to stay home when they are sick. Please self-monitor for any of the following symptoms as a new onset in the last 72 hours. (This does not include chronic conditions):

a. Fever of 100 degrees or greater

b. New onset of a cough, congestion, or runny nose
c. New onset of shortness of breath
d. New onset of sore throat
e. New onset of body aches, chills, or fatigue
f. New onset of headache
g. New onset of loss of taste or smell
h. Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting

As always, we will continue to consult with the Cheatham County Health Department and to review guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If circumstances related to COVID-19 change, we will respond promptly in coordination with these agencies.

Dr. Cathy Beck

Director of Schools


Published Aug. 20, 2021

As we complete our second full week of school, I want to provide you with several updates regarding COVID-19.


We highly encourage our students and employees to wear a mask.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order that states a student's parent or guardian have the right to opt out of any requirement for a student to wear a face covering at school, on a school bus or at school functions. Therefore, if a school district mandates masks, then families have the ability to opt out of it.

Please be aware that wearing a mask reduces the chances of a student being placed on quarantine. According to the Center for Disease Controls (CDC), in a K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.

Virtual learning

We have been asked by many families why we are not providing virtual and/or hybrid learning this year.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee State Board of Education approved a rule limiting the ability for school districts to utilize a Continuous Learning Plan (CLP) to provide instruction in the 2021-22 school year.

This means students that want to learn virtually must enroll in a dedicated virtual school, and we only have one available on the high school level and enrollment is now closed.


We want to specifically address the quarantine issue to clear up any confusion.

The state of Tennessee has shifted the responsibility of quarantine this year from school districts to the local health departments. For this reason, the district can’t mandate a child to quarantine if he/she is considered a close contact, but we do highly recommend that families follow the CDC quarantine guidelines.

Some families might have received an automated text message from the Department of Health (DOH) over the past few days.

Here’s why: The district gathers initial information for probable positive COVID cases amongst students and staff. The contact information gathered is then shared with the DOH. Parents will receive an automated text message from the DOH after this and the district strongly encourages parents to follow the recommendations provided. Families will then receive a phone call from the DOH about their quarantine expectations. If you have school contact tracing questions, please call 615-532-5147.

The district is working to implement an automated email to families notifying them that information was provided to the DOH. We are asking families to ensure that their contact information in Skyward is up-to-date and emails are checked daily.

COVID protocols

Families should keep their child at home if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or if their child has had close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19.

He/she will not be permitted to return to the school building until the specific number of days required by the DOH has been met, even if they do not develop symptoms. Once the specified time period is over, these individuals may return to school with documentation of clearance. For additional questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

We also encourage families to keep their child at home when he/she is sick. If your child is out of school due to illness, please notify his/her school.

We continue to emphasize frequent washing of hands, the use of sanitizer and social distancing when possible as this helps reduce the chances of COVID-19 passing from one person to another.

Academic instruction

If your child is out of school due to a COVID-19 issue, families are asked to contact his/her school about academic instruction. At this time, students are able to complete instruction by utilizing the Schoology program or work packets, depending on which school they attend. This work can be done independently while the child is home. If you have any instruction questions, please contact your child’s teacher.

In closing, it is frustrating to all of us that COVID-19 is impacting another school year and adding such monumental challenges to our daily lives.

I am proud of the work that our staff is doing in serving our students this year, and we need your support as we work together to have a successful school year.

Dr. Cathy Beck

Director of Schools