Class Notes: Coronavirus preparations in place in Hamilton County Schools, and more education news

File staff photo by Doug Strickland / Parent volunteer Nichole Newson wipes down a door during a group effort to sanitize surfaces at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn. As the country grapples with one of the worst flu seasons in years, schools are working to combat the spread of the disease. Now, Hamilton County Schools is preparing for the potential impact of the novel coronavirus as the number of cases across the United States increase.

Coronavirus preparations in place in Hamilton County Schools

On March 3, Hamilton County Schools sent an advisory to parents and families of the preparations underway as the concern nationwide over the novel coronavirus increases.

"School nurses are working to keep the school environment safe by sending students home when they exhibit signs of fever or flu-like symptoms," according to a news release.

The district asks parents to keep their children at home if they have any flu-like symptoms and for at least 24 hours after they are fever free without medication. Employees are also encouraged to stay at home if such symptoms are present. The district also asks parents to reinforce that children should cover any coughs and sneezes with an elbow or tissue and not their hands.

Schools will continue to encourage students to wash their hands multiple times during the school day and model proper handwashing, according to district officials, and staff members are working to keep school buildings clean.

Schools and custodial personnel are disinfecting surfaces in schools daily, such as desks, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and other frequently touched areas, according to the release. Custodial staffers have fogged every school with an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer and will continue to revisit schools with that cleaning method while concerns are present with the flu or coronavirus.

Kindergarten registration in Hamilton County opens April 1

Hamilton County families will be able to register their upcoming kindergarten student at their zoned school for the 2020-21 school year beginning on Wednesday, April 1, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the school.

Online registration also will be open March 30 to April 3.

For more information, visit:

Tennessee Aquarium to offer new summer camp programs

This summer, the Tennessee Aquarium will offer eight new specialty summer camps for children ages 2 to 14, including specialty campuses such as "Nature on the Page" and "STEM Around Us."

In "Nature on the Page," young storytellers will write and illustrate their own books, while "STEM Around Us" will show children why fish swim so well - among other things.

The new age-appropriate specialty camps will offer the variety kids crave, said Danielle Pope White, educator at the Tennessee Aquarium, in a news release.

"We're trying to keep up with the times. We have really tried to see if we could do anything extra, and better, and really focus on the Tennessee Aquarium as an institution for these kids to be able to come to camp," Pope White said.

Other new programs, including one on turtle telemetry, will focus on the shelled stars of the Aquarium's Year of the Turtle celebration, which runs throughout 2020. The special turtle logo will appear on all summer camp T-shirts.

The camps run from June 1 to July 31. Registration for aquarium members is underway and non-member registration begins on Monday, March 9.

For more information or to register, visit:

Chattanooga State to hold open house on March 28

Chattanooga State Community College will host a spring open house on Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its main campus at 4501 Amnicola Highway.

The event gives students and parents the opportunity to meet with administrators, faculty, staff and students to learn more about Chattanooga State programs, including a wide array of high school programs, one-to two-year technical and career programs and other opportunities.

Information about admissions, financial aid and scholarships, career planning, student activities and campus organizations will be available. Student affairs representatives also will be available to assist students who wish to apply for admissions during this event.

For more information or to RSVP, call 423-697-2689, or visit

If you have news about local schools you'd like included in Class Notes, email Meghan Mangrum at