Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Vaccine Clinic

Students and employees at both city and county schools maintained the downward trend in COVID-19 cases and quarantines last week that started following the end of Fall Break on Oct. 11.

Also, nearly 40% of Rutherford County Schools’ 5,805 employees have opted-out of the district’s mandatory mask policy, according to spokesman James Evans. He said that increased availability of COVID-19 vaccinations for employees in comparison to students is a big factor in that number.

Murfreesboro City Schools, which extended its mask requirement until Nov. 10, reported a total of 20 combined positive cases for students and staff for the week following the five-day vacation period. That marks 19 fewer cases than the 39 reported during the first week of school.

There has also been an approximate 42.8% decrease compared to the 35 cases recorded during the week leading up to the break.

Four of the system’s K-6 schools recorded no cases, according to the most recent data, and four others recorded only one case. The remaining five schools experienced between two and five cases.

Numbers have continued to drop off since MCS’ fourth peak week of school in which 128 cases were recorded.

Rutherford County Schools

Likewise, RCS reported fewer student and employee cases since returning from Fall Break.

Only 10 employee cases were documented on the district’s online COVID-19 Data Dashboard. After weeks of triple-digit student caseloads, RCS has dropped from 109 to 84, a near 23% decrease.

This figure makes up about 0.71 percent of the 49,039 students in the district. RCS elementary schools are making up the majority of the record case amounts. Elementary schools account for 54% of cases, followed by high schools at 27% and middle schools at 19%.

The number of student quarantines has also dropped from 1,599 before the break to 624 the week after it, totaling to a near 61% decrease.

Employees experienced a less dramatic decline, going from 87 before Fall Break to 52 after it.

Employees now have the ability to opt-out of the school board’s recently approved mask requirement extension, which can be automatically terminated if the county-wide positivity rate falls below at or below 10% for three weeks in a row.

Employees who choose to opt-out can do so by filling out an electronic form. As of Thursday, Oct. 21, 39% (approximately 2,264) of the 5,805 employees have chosen to do so, according to RCS spokesman Evans.

As of Thursday, Oct. 21, Rutherford County has reached a 9 percent average seven-day positivity rate, according to the Tennessee Department of Health’s County Data Snapshot.

The active case count for the same date is 791, a 198-case difference from the 989 recorded seven days prior.