The county’s two school districts entered fall break last week with the lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases reported since the start of the school year in August.
In the week leading up to the five-day vacation period, Murfreesboro City Schools reported 35 combined student and staff cases, a nine-case difference from the school week ending Sept. 24.
That means that only 2.33% of the school system’s approximate 1,500 employees could have been infected, or 0.37 percent of the 9,436 students enrolled as of Thursday, Oct. 7.
MCS’ peak week of cases was during the third week of school, in which 128 student and employee cases were recorded. The latest pre-fall break numbers indicate a decline of about 72.6% in the total number of positive tests over the last five weeks.
The district recently voted to extend its mask requirement policy to remain in effect until Wednesday, Nov. 10 for all individuals on school grounds. Pursuant to Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 84, parents will maintain their right to opt their children out of board-set mask policies.
Lee issued an extension of his own in the form of Executive Order No. 89, which has lengthened the opt-out period for an additional month until Friday, Nov. 5 at 11:59 p.m.
Rutherford County Schools has also experienced a dramatic decline in virus impact. In the week before fall break, there were only 13 employee and 109 student cases recorded, down from the 110 and 1,022 respective cases reported during the school system’s peak week a month prior.
The number of student infections has decreased by over 89.3% to make up only 0.22% of the 49,039 enrollment recorded as of Sept. 7.
The number of quarantines for both groups has also dwindled over the last few weeks with 87 teachers and 1,599 students staying home for at least one day. During peak week, these numbers were up to 550 and 10,197 respectively.
RCS’ current mask requirement is set to expire Thursday, Oct. 14.
The criteria for early expiration recommended by Vice Chair Shelia Bratton, who suggested a premature lift should the entire county’s positivity rate fall at or below 10% for a period of three weeks, was not reached.
The county’s average positivity rate for the seven-day period ending on Oct. 6 was recorded at 12.9%, according to the Tennessee Department of Health’s online County Data Snapshot.
The active case count listed for Thursday, Oct. 7 was 1,193, which makes up 0.34% of the county’s population. On the last day of September, the number of active cases was just over 35% higher, totaling to 1,612.
The Rutherford County Health Department recently announced that it would be moving all of its COVID-19-related operations to the former State Farm building at 2500 Memorial Blvd. in Murfreesboro.
Testing will run Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Vaccinations will also be administered on the same days from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Appointments are no longer necessary, and Everlywell at-home test kits will be made available to individuals aged 18 and up.
The county health department has also teamed up with the City of LaVergne and CH Consulting Solutions, a Nashville-based emergency medicine provider, to bring forth an additional drive-through testing site in LaVergne.
The new site at 5093 Murfreesboro Rd. was scheduled to open on Monday, Oct. 11. Oral swab testing will be offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The testing turnaround period is listed as one to two days for weekdays and two to four days for weekends.