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Tennessee's Poor Vaccination Rate and Rising Delta Variant Represent a Major Issue for Schools

July 30, 2021

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Tennessee will be one of the first states to reopen schools while battling COVID's more contagious Delta variant, which is now the nation's leading strain of the respiratory virus, with less than 38% of eligible citizens completely vaccinated. As reported by Chalkbeat in the article Rising Delta Variant, Tennessee's Low Vaccination Rate Could Turn Schools Into COVID Breeding Grounds, the new academic year will begin in late July or early August, depending on the district, but all schools will face the same obstacles in keeping their students and staff safe and healthy. Public health officials remain concerned, with at least one renowned infectious disease expert advising unvaccinated Tennesseans to get their shots as soon as possible.

Dale Lynch, the head of the state superintendent's organization said the Delta variant is only now catching the attention of school leaders who have been focusing this summer on delivering extra state-required learning programs to counter more than a year of pandemic disruptions. Medical specialists, on the other hand, have been monitoring the mutation since it was discovered in India in December. The variant spreads faster than earlier versions, according to evidence, and is most deadly to people who haven't been vaccinated. Experts warn that states with the lowest vaccination rates, such as Tennessee, will be impacted the hardest.

COVID-19 is no longer a statewide public health emergency, according to Republican Gov. Bill Lee, who was vaccinated privately in March without making a public statement. He has been relatively silent on the need for vaccines recently, referring to them as a personal choice. He's also opposed Republican governors' plans to offer cash and other incentives to residents who are hesitant to get vaccinated. Furthermore, the Tennessee State Board of Education offered some public health options for the coming school year with an emergency rule that lets districts provide temporary remote instruction to students who are quarantined after testing positive or being exposed to Coronavirus.

To read the article in detail, visit: Rising Delta Variant, Tennessee's Low Vaccination Rate Could Turn Schools Into COVID Breeding Grounds.

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