More than 2,000 K-12 students test positive for COVID, but school-specific info to remain secret

More than 2,000 school-age children have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past two weeks, but state officials say they won’t release details of where the infections are occurring.

As of Tuesday, 2,099 students between ages 5 and 18 had tested positive, with Davidson County leading the way with 228 cases, followed by 209 in Hamilton County, 202 in Shelby County, 118 in Rutherford County, and 106 in Knox County.

Gov. Bill Lee’s Adminstration says federal privacy laws prevent the release of details about how many children have been infected in specific schools.

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at a press conference on Tennessee’s coronavirus response in Nashville on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

“It’s a balance,” Lee said. “It’s really important that people in a school district can’t figure out which children individually have a case.”

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said there are schools around the state that have fewer than 200 students, where disclosing an outbreak would make it easy to identify who had become sick. It’s unclear how that reasoning would apply to larger schools.

According to WPLN-FM, it’s the fourth time the Lee administration has flip-flopped on making information about the pandemic public. In March, officials at first refused to share county-specific data about infections and deaths. That decision was later reversed. The same went for keeping details of infections at nursing homes secret, which was later dropped amid pushback from the public and the media.

Lee had initially said the school infection information would be kept from the public, only to reverse himself later before once again saying the details will be confidential.

25 Responses to More than 2,000 K-12 students test positive for COVID, but school-specific info to remain secret

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Much like the Mask ordinances passed by Mayors, they say you don’t need one if you have a medical condition, but you have to have a note from a doctor. Nope, you can have a medical condition and HIPPA prevents anyone (even cops) asking about your medical condition.
    So … not mask … nobody’s business.

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      Perry Aubric says:

      Selfish, wilfully-ignorant fringe-dwelling science-denying idiots refuse to wear a mask and fall back in some “my right” to endanger myself and others. Even if it is my right not to wear a mask (it’s not), I would out of consideration for the health of myself, my family and others in the community. You know, the Golden Rule, the idea of that liberal snowflake who wanted to heal the sick and feed the poor?

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    Safety is EVERYONE’S business right now. NO MATTER WHAT WE MUST STAY SAFE!!

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    steve cates says:

    Of course, not to be transparent means more rumors and it’s hard enough on parents without all those rumors. History shows us that the best way is the TRANSPARENT way. Lee and his crew admitted yesterday that they got special permission from the federal government to release nursing home information and they COULD ask for permission to release Covid information. It would be best just to be upfront.

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    Perry Aubric says:

    Who, liberal or conservative, thinks government withholding information from the public is ok?

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    Lance Persson says:

    As usual, we are only told a small part of the truth.
    The number who tested positive by itself doesn’t tell us much. If we don’t know how many total students were tested or how many tested negative, the number testing positive by itself is totally irrelevant. What would be meaningful is what percentage of those tested had positive results. If they know the number that tested positive than they surely know the number that tested negative or the total number tested. It sure seems like the medical community and our government do not want us to have that information. TNJ Please provide us with both numbers the next time you make a similar posting. Thank you.

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    Marisa N. says:

    As an educator, I can tell you it’s this simple: the subjects are minors. Moreover, if those who tested are concentrated in, or come from, a particular background or neighborhood, they don’t want public scrutiny of that group or area for obvious reasons. Churches, as well as Advocates for people with disabilities in TN have shed light on such populations, and they claim those people have already been facing increased discrimination during this public health crisis. Sharing such personal medical information of a minor is illegal in a school setting, sharing such broader demographic information could cause to be harmful in other ways. Raw numbers and general conditions are all we will get in the public.

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    Eddie White says:

    I don’t think the releasing of information is for the promotion of discrimination. I guess that has become the fear. I think parents of children who are sending their kids into a school setting have a right to know if there are serious medical concerns. Parents have a right to protect the health of their children. As for masks and vaccines, I support whatever helps us get past this pandemic as quickly as possible. However, I am not sure a national mask mandate from Washington(Pres Biden) would be very effective.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      But it would be very frightening to think that we have evolved from a federal republic to a unitary government the head of which has the authority to mandate that detail of behavior from 325 million people in this country. Putin and Comrade Xi would look on with envy.

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      Marisa Jennie Novak says:

      Agreed…releasing as much information as possible is vital to everyone’s ability to protect their health. What I am explaining is that within a school setting, teachers, counselors, administrators, SORs, and nurses are bound by law to protect the confidentiality around personal medical health information. Believe me, as a teacher it can be frustrating, because it is difficult to help students who are suffering when you don’t have certain health information. And, I do not believe that releasing data ever has the intention to promote discrimination, but sharing specific demographics with the public around positive cases can cause certain perceptions. Moreover, the school boards, administrators, doctors, school nurses, and state agencies who are caretakers of that information carry the responsibility to mitigate any risk to the other students. That doesn’t mean we, as parents, shouldn’t know our student’s risk of exposure though. I am a proponent of sharing as much information as possible to protect our kids and families.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    TN Plan for “Wellbeing Check” of Every Child Shocks America
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwXs5qoS8_k

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Well James, they’re “our children” don’t you know. After all, didn’t Hillary say that it “Takes A Village”? The substitution of the state for the parents as much as possible is an important mission in the cultural Marxist game plan.

      There are authoritarians at all levels of government. Authoritarian “do-gooders” gravitate toward governmental careers because of their enthusiasm to force the “little people” to behave as the do-gooders want knows no bounds. We should all be thankful that we live in Tennessee where the revulsion against that type of government overreach still runs high.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Smokescreens, cover ups and more lies from a Republican Governor that is blindly following a Republican President who heads up a criminal syndicate. Nothing to see here folks just move on…So sad!

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