Photo Credit: Public Domain
Published August 20, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
In a letter dated August 18, 2021 that was sent to all Tennessee school superintendents, TN Dept of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey and TN Dept of Ed Commissioner Penny Schwinn outlined the state’s directive to collaborate with the federal government to collect and share data concerning contact tracing of children among other private information.
The letter states that the U.S. Department of Education requires districts to submit Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plans to the Tennessee Department of Education.
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Of particular note, bullet point 3 states that “Plans must explain the schools’/districts’ role in contract tracing. When cases are identified, schools are expected to supply a list of identified close contacts, seating charts and rosters to the extent those documents are maintained (for bus, classroom, lunchroom, or athletics setting, as applicable) and parental contact information to health departments.”
Also of particular interest is number 5 in the questions portion of the letter which asks superintendents to describe the extent the LEA has adopted policies and a description of any such policies “following health and safety strategies.”
Articles of note:
• universal and correct wearing of masks
• physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding)
• contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine
• diagnostic and screening testing
• efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible
Concerned Tennessee parent Lani Siciliano says, “Aren’t some of those bullets in #5 not allowed in TN? Like requiring masks? Cannot offer vaccines to children?”
The letter was issued just two days after Governor Lee signed Executive Order 84 to give parents the ability to opt their child out of a local mask mandate enacted by a school or health board.
Further, in June, several Tennessee GOP leaders warned the Tennessee Health Department against pushing vaccines on minors.
The minor targeted ad campaign appears to have been eliminated. However, based upon the letter, it seems efforts are still underway to vaccinate children.
Parent Christina Cramer said, “Enough of this!!!!!!! These unelected bureaucracies of health departments have decided somehow they are now the fourth branch of govt. THEY ARE NOT! We pay their salaries as taxpayers, they do NOT get to have this kind of insane power…WE have the SOLE RIGHTS TO OUR CHILDREN and ourselves!”
Another parent, Shanna Sullivan Lively suggests, “Flood your reps with emails and calls on this….I just did it.”
Gary Humble of Tennessee Stands said, “This is egregious and it should be stopped!! Please make sure you understand that these commissioners work DIRECTLY for Governor Bill Lee.”
Humble goes on to say, “This General Assembly needs to call itself into a special session now and deal with a multitude of issues facing the people of Tennessee including putting a check on the powers of this Governor during an emergency. Enough is enough.”
About the Author:
Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com