Coronavirus: Knox Co. Schools develop distance learning plan amid COVID-19 closure

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County Schools leaders recently introduced a plan to keep students learning during the school closures through April 24 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

MORE: Tracking Coronavirus

Last week, during a KCS Board of Education meeting, Assistant Superintendent Jon Rysewyk shared the school system’s distance learning plan, initially called “KCS at Home.”

  • It would be implemented April 6th while tech devices are distributed to students who don’t have access at home and educational resources are developed.
  • All resources are based on content already taught during the school year.
  • Teachers will support these resources one of the following four ways: Canvas, Microsoft Teams, Aspen or telephone.
  • Participation is voluntary for students and completion will not impact a student’s grade.

Learning plans and resources would be created by each grade level and subject for high schools which include math, English, science and social studies.

“This is all new and I know Knox County is doing their best for everyone. We have never seen this type of learning or these types of challenges,” said Tanya Coats, Knox County Education Association President.

Each week, resources for all grade levels will be posted online.

For elementary and middle school students, paper packets will also be available and high schoolers have the option to check out a device if they don’t have access to one at home. The plan notes that all high school instruction will be online because of course combinations for each student.

“It is cumbersome and we have asked teachers to be volunteers to help us pool together some curriculum ideas that can help kids review and give parents additional resources so parents don’t have to figure things out on their own,” said Coats.

The plan outlines that packets will be grouped by more than one elementary and middle school grade level as a way to reduce confusion and give families the opportunity to review and engage other grade-level activities.

“It will help keep them moving about, being in that lesson-learning mode. It’s not always about the books but it’s about setting criteria and following direction, following through with those directions, building efficacy between families,” explained Coats.

Part of the plan includes using KCS-TV where teachers will record lessons that are covered in online and paper packets.

“There will be some gaps. It will just be a learning curve that we will still continue to provide resources for kids to be prepared for next year,” said Coats.

When it comes to student support, KCS outlines in their plan that staff will work with families to determine the best ways to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Staff will also have IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) meetings to help students more impacted by the closure.

“It’s going to take everybody having patience with kids because their minds are moving a lot faster than ours,” added Coats.

RELATED: Knox Co. Schools staff working to put together ‘KCS at Home’ educational resources for students

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