Skip to content

Be Happy. Be Together. Be BRIGHT!

January 3, 2022 health update

Dear Bright School Families,
I hope all of you had an enjoyable break and that our students are excited to return to school on Wednesday. Our faculty and staff will be at school tomorrow to prepare and welcome students for 2022.
Throughout the pandemic, the goal at Bright School has been to stay open for in-person learning experiences for our students, and we have been able to do that through the last year thanks to the cooperation of our students, parents, and faculty and staff. Before the break, we were optimistic about peeling back more layers of our COVID-19 protocols if the number of cases continued to decline. However, with the omicron variant and spike in numbers in the Chattanooga area, we are not able to make as many changes as we would like at this time.
The school will continue to require masks indoors for all students, faculty and staff regardless of vaccination status. Our administration and COVID-19 task force will be continually evaluating case numbers, and this requirement will be removed as soon as our community numbers fall under the critical range.
The CDC has revised quarantine guidelines, and now 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. We understand the CDC may further update this guideline to require negative tests to end quarantines, and we will evaluate this and any other recommendations that may come. 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.
Because some of our students will be required to quarantine (for fewer days than before) and some students will not have to quarantine at all, our teachers will not provide iBright and instruction via Zoom during quarantines. Instead, teachers will provide academic activities for quarantined students to complete at home.
Illness and Testing
One of the best ways families can help the school keep cases at bay and reduce the number of quarantines is to keep students at home anytime they present any cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms and/or when students or family members are awaiting test results. Please contact Nurse Rachel Sarvela if you have any questions and to let her know about pending test results.
Let me stress again the importance of transparency and cooperation during this time. Together, we will get through this and continue to have a wonderful year for our school community.
Kind regards,
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 48 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

Each child is required to wear a face covering at all times indoors. Fabric face coverings must have two layers, and gaiters must be folded over to create two layers. Bandanas are not allowed. Disposable masks are permissable. Please make sure fabric face coverings are clean each day.

Face coverings should not have any words other than Bright School or the school logo. Face coverings may be any color or any design. Please no face coverings from other schools. Read these CDC guidelines when choosing a face covering for your child.

Students are required to bring two face coverings to school to keep in case extras are needed. You may provide face coverings of your choice from any store. Please label all face coverings!

All adults, including teachers and staff, are required to wear face coverings inside the school. Faculty may put on a face shield, remove their masks and maintain social distancing in the classroom when clear annunciation of words is most critical, such as during spelling tests.

Face coverings do not have to be worn outdoors.

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.


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.

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. No drop-ins are allowed. Visitors should report to the main entrance at the columns. Please put on your mask before entering the building.

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.**

If your child is quarantined at home, distance learning will be provided. Please allow teachers one to two days to organize materials and communicate plans with parents.

Project-based Learning materials and supplies will be delivered electronically or taken home. We will utilize Zoom with live teaching mini-lessons followed by small group collaboration and reflection sessions to check for understanding and mastery. Consideration will be need to be given to families with multiple children for scheduling of live sessions.

There will be weekly agendas with goals and essential questions. Social and emotional learning will be an essential component of the distance learning curriculum.

Students in grades K-2 are equipped with iPads, and students in grades 3-5 have Chromebooks that are used during the regular school day. These would be used at home to provide a seamless transition between school and home learning during a quarantine.

School Affiliations