Andy True


KINGSPORT — Two more COVID-19 virus cases have been confirmed in Kingsport City Schools despite them operating virtually.

One is a staff member at Jackson Elementary School and the other is a student involved in the basketball program at Dobyns-Bennett High School.

The city’s public schools began operating virtually on Monday, which is the same day a school system official confirmed the latest two cases. They are the second and third confirmed in KCS, with the first being confirmed in an elementary school last week.

The system of more than 7,000 students is to continue operating virtually until further notice, based on a vote last week by the school board.

The board decided 3-2 to base reopening in person during the pandemic on the tracking of new COVID-19 cases over a 14-day average per 100,000 population in Sullivan County. The data available countywide are known as the Epi Curve.

“I can confirm that based on information provided by the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, we have two positive COVID-19 cases confirmed today,” Assistant Superintendent of Administration Andy True said via email Monday afternoon.

He said one was a “staff member at Jackson Elementary and one a student at Dobyns-Bennett who is involved with our basketball program.”

“Per our established protocols, contract tracing has begun with the involvement of the KCS Supervisor of Nursing (Vicki Johnston) and the Sullivan County Regional Health Department,” True wrote.

“Our maintenance and custodial department has also been notified and has initiated additional cleaning protocols as outlined in the KCS Framework for Opening the 2020-21 School Year — Operations Manual,” True said. “Communication to families at the school level has occurred by the building principals.”

On Aug. 6, the city school system reported a staff member at Washington Elementary had tested positive.

In neighboring Sullivan County Schools that same day, a “member of the Sullivan East High School volleyball community” tested positive, while the county system on Aug. 5 reported a positive test of an adult involved with the Sullivan North High football program.

A Sullivan South High School football program “community” member with a positive result was reported over the weekend.

The Sullivan school board voted 4-3 to return students to schools on Aug. 24 in a hybrid model, where about half of students go two days a week in person and three virtually and the other half go a different two days a week and three days virtually.

The Greeneville and Johnson County football programs also have had positive cases of COVID-19, and East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland on Monday afternoon said he believes having sports at the Johnson City-based school this fall is “virtually impossible.”