On July 15, 2020, Superintendent Bob Thomas will share the district’s reopening plan with the Board of Education. The full plan is now available at www.knoxschools.org/connect, along with summary documents and Frequently Asked Questions organized by topic.
Key features of the plan include the following:
- The first day of class for students will be Monday, August 17, 2020. This one-week delay will give the district time to adjust our procedures, deploy Chromebooks to students, answer questions from families and implement health and safety measures that are critical to the plan’s success.
- Students will have two academic options for the fall semester:
- Option 1 is in-class instruction, with additional safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Option 2 is enrollment in our Virtual Learning Program, which will provide instruction remotely.
- Students who choose the Virtual Learning Program must register by July 22, 2020. Students who elect to enroll in the Virtual Learning Program will be committed to this option for the entire semester. Currently enrolled students will be sent an email detailing how to enroll in the Virtual Learning Program via the Aspen Family Portal. (A video tutorial is available at this link.)
- In-school instruction will include additional safety measures, including:
- Temperature checks will be conducted on every person who enters our school buildings, in order to identify students, staff and visitors who have a fever.
- Hand sanitizer and disinfectant will be provided to every classroom to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- All students will be required to wear a mask while on campus when physical distancing isn’t possible, unless a student is unable to remove a mask without assistance or has a medical condition or other need preventing it.
- All staff will be required to wear a mask while on campus when physical distancing isn’t possible or there is a medical condition preventing it.
- The Virtual Learning Program will closely align with the requirements of an on-campus classroom, and will include instruction on new material, graded assignments and testing.
- While this program will not be able to offer all course options available at our traditional schools, all students will remain on track for progress to the next grade and for graduation.
- Students who enroll in the Virtual Learning Option will still be able to participate in extracurricular activities at their base school.
Superintendent Bob Thomas provided the following statement:
“I’m very grateful for the input we received from the community on our reopening plan, including survey respondents, focus groups and our Community Task Force. Our goal is to move forward with the work of teaching and learning while also protecting the health and safety of our school communities. The challenges posed by COVID-19 are significant, and we know that our reopening plan won’t go perfectly on Day 1. But we’re committed to overcoming these obstacles, and I believe that with the patience and support of our community we can successfully and safely move forward with the mission of education.”
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs provided the following statement:
“Providing a quality education to the children of this community must be a top priority. This is a difficult situation and there is no such thing as a perfect plan, but what Superintendent Thomas has proposed appears to strike a good balance between in-classroom and virtual learning. The Superintendent and his team have done the best they can to gather the thoughts and opinions from a number of stakeholders, including parents, administrators and teachers. With this plan, everyone should feel empowered to do what they think is best for their family as we begin the new school year.”