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Health Protocols Update February 14, 2022

Dear Bright School Families:

As indicated in Friday’s COVID communication, I wish to share with you updates to our COVID protocols at Bright School. 

Our intention has always been to move to a mask-optional policy when COVID numbers subsided.  In consultation with our COVID task force and executive committee of the board of trustees, it has been decided that upon our return from winter break, the following protocols will be in place:
Masking - Masks will be optional for students and faculty/staff members at Bright School.
Quarantine - We will continue to contact trace positive COVID cases. Individuals who are identified as a close contact and not exempt from quarantine may test-to-stay. 
We remain grateful for your partnership with us. We feel confident that these revisions will continue to keep healthy students in school while returning to more of a sense of normalcy for our students and faculty. 

Many thanks,

Kristin Watts


Monitoring Illness

The following guidelines and processes will be followed in response to COVID-19, as recommended by public health experts such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as well as federal, state and local health officials. This is a “living” document that may be updated at any time by The Bright School given the fluidity of this situation. 

Fever Policy

If a student has a temperature of 100.4 F or higher, he/she should stay home. If your child has a fever of 100.4 or higher while at school, the school nurse will contact the child's parents or guardians to pick up the child. The child should not return to school until the temperature has been normal without fever reducing medication for a minimum of 24 hours. 

Symptom Policy

If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms you should notify the school nurse and keep your child at home. A student who presents at school with any of the following symptoms should report directly to the school nurse to be evaluated. The nurse will contact the child’s parents/guardians to be picked up from school. Parents should contact their child's primary care doctor to discuss whether a COVID-19 test is required. A test also may be necessary for any siblings currently enrolled at Bright. These symptoms include:

  • Fever (l100.4 F or higher)
  • Uncontrolled cough 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Or two or more of these symptoms: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea



The school encourages faculty and staff to be vaccinated and recognizes this is the best line of defense against COVID-19.

The school nurse maintains a list of faculty and staff who have been vaccinated for the sole purpose of coordinating quarantine protocols in the event of a positive case or close contact. This information will otherwise be kept confidential, and the school will not disclose individual vaccination status to students, parents, faculty, staff, and other members of the school community.

If parents have questions regarding vaccinating their children against COVID-19, they should contact their pediatrician. 

Face Coverings

Effective February 22, 2022, masks are optional for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Testing Positive for COVID-19

Any student, faculty or staff member, or family member of a student, faculty or staff member who receives a positive COVID-19 test must report these findings to Bright School by notifying the school nurse on the same day of results.

Currently, the school is accepting any COVID-19 test, including rapid tests, based on guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health and the health professionals on our COVID-19 task force. If you plan to seek a test for your child for any reason, please contact Nurse Rachel Sarvela in advance at [email protected]. You will need to keep your child at home while you wait for results, and your child needs to be symptom-free for 24 hours and fever-free for 48 hours without medication before returning after a negative test. 

If a parent or other household contact of a student has been tested due to a potential exposure or illness with COVID-19 symptoms, please keep your child at home as a precaution until you receive negative test results. If the test is a requirement for work/school or another reason not related to an exposure or symptoms, your child may come to school while you await results.

The school will communicate to the school community any quarantine or potential closure of school, campus or building. The identity of any individual diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be disclosed within applicable guidelines. The area where a positive COVID-19 has been present will be closed off to be cleaned and disinfected based on CDC and OSHA guidelines.

Quarantine (also see Test to Stay Policy below)

Individuals who test positive are isolated at home for a minimum of five days, according to CDC guidelines. Individuals must be mostly symptom-free and fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school. If a household contact is able to isolate from the positive case in the home, they may begin their quarantine the day after the last exposure. Household contacts that cannot be isolated from the individual will begin their quarantine once the positive case's isolation period is complete. 

Asymptomatic, unvaccinated individuals who are close contacts of positive cases only have to quarantine for five days instead of seven or 10. Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine if they are not showing symptoms.  If your child is fully vaccinated, meaning it is two weeks past his or her second dose, please send a picture of your child’s vaccination card to Nurse Rachel Sarvela at [email protected]. This information will only be used in determining quarantines in the classrooms.

Test to Stay Option

  • Upon receiving an email notifying you that your child is a close contact, you may have your child tested. If the initial test is negative, your child may return to school.
  • Following the last day of exposure, tests will need to be completed every other day during the five-day quarantine; in most circumstances two tests will be required over the course of a single quarantine.
  • At-home or clinical tests will be accepted.
  • Test results will need to be reported to the school.
  • If your child tests positive or develops any symptoms during this period, he or she must stay home in quarantine.
  • The email you receive about being a close contact will provide more information about how to report the test results to the school.

How Does Vaccination Affect Quarantine?

Individuals who are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms do not have to quarantine. An individual is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their 2nd dose of the vaccine. If it has been six or more months since the second dose, the individual must have a booster shot be to considered fully vaccinated. Please send proof of vaccination to nurse Rachel Sarvela. 

Unvaccinated people must follow the quarantine guidelines whether they present symptoms or not. Faculty and staff who are unvaccinated and are exposed to a positive case outside the classroom must quarantine at home, and a substitute teacher will be hired to teach the class.

After a quarantine, individuals need to practice strict mask use for five days.

Returning to School After a Positive Test

After a student, teacher or staff member tests positive and is symptomatic, that person should isolate for five days and return to school when fever free and mostly symptom free.

If a person tests positive and is asymptomatic, he or she can return five days from a positive test.

Testing Negative for COVID-19

If a student, faculty or staff member receives a negative test and presents no symptoms, that person may return to school after submitting the results to the school nurse.

If a test comes back negative, but the person is still showing symptoms, the fever policy must be followed for a fever (48 hours fever-free), and other symptoms must subside for at least 24 hours without medication.

COVID-19 Task Force

The task force meets to discuss policies and procedures to help promote the health and safety of our school community. These policies and guidelines will be updated and amended as needed throughout the year.

  • Betsey Kates, Board of Trustees chair and parent
  • Philip Byrum '85, trustee and alumnus
  • Dr. Kathleen Hunt, former trustee and former parent
  • Dr. Jay Sizemore, infectious disease specialist and alumnus
  • Kristin Watts, head of school
  • Renee' Kropff, assistant head of school
  • Kendra Reasor, assistant head of school
  • Rachel Sarvela, school nurse and secretary
  • Elizabeth Davis '86, director of marketing and communications and alumna

Daily Operations


Visitors, including parents, are allowed inside the building to attend scheduled meetings and events. 

The receptionist will assist visitors as they complete a brief health screening and sign in online.

If you are picking up your child for a doctor or dentist appointment or other reason, please contact your child's teacher and receptionist Elizabeth Jackson in advance by emailing her at [email protected]. She will arrange to have your child leave his/her classroom at the appropriate time to be ready to be picked up in the lobby.

If your child is tardy, please come to the main entrance to sign in. Make sure you have completed your child's Ascend survey in advance. If your child is in an early childhood grade (JPK, PK or K), sign in and then drive your child to the ECC building entrance. Mrs. Jackson will call your child's teacher, and the teacher or assistant will meet you at the ECC door.

Classes and Activities

The academics and offerings of the school have not changed. Students attend all regular classes during the day, and parents may sign up for additional after school activities such as Bright Afternoons, after school classes, sports and Cadek music lessons. Fourth and fifth grade hand bells are offered in the mornings, and Bright School Choir is open to third, fourth and fifth graders on Friday mornings.

Field trips will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Grade-level plays will be held this year. 

School begins at 8 a.m., but we encourage parents to drop off students at 7:45 a.m. to allow them time to prepare for the day. Early drop off begins at 7:15 a.m. Grades 1-5 go to the theater, and grades JPK-K go to the library. Students are considered tardy at 8:05 a.m.

Lunch and Birthdays

**Updated November 2, 2021**

Starting November 8, grades 1-5 will eat lunch in the dining hall. Two grades will eat in the dining hall at the same time but will be staggered in arrival and departure and spaced out at the tables by class. There will be an empty seat next to and across from each student. All tables will be cleaned between grades. Once seated, students will not get up from the tables until it is time to leave. Kindergarten and PK will continue to have lunch delivered to the ECC to eat in their classrooms.

Parents may join their children for lunch on their birthdays. Parents may bring party favors (toys or trinkets) for the class, but outside food or candy of any kind is not allowed. Please enjoy this special event by spending time with your child during his or her lunch period. If you plan to come for lunch, please contact your child's teacher in advance to let her or him know you are planning to come and if you are bringing party favors. Teachers may prefer to hand out the favors at dismissal.

One day each month will be a celebration of birthdays with cake for all students, and special arrangements will be made for food allergies. Head of School Kristin Watts will visit with each child on his or her birthday in the classroom.

If Learning Continues at Home

Distance Learning

Updated January 4, 2022: Due to the shortened quarantine timeframe, teachers will not provide iBright or lessons via Zoom. Teachers will email or send home optional academic activities to be completed at home.

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