KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After two years of COVID-related changes, many are hoping for a normal routine as Knox County Schools prepares for its first day back.

However, the CDC and the Knox County Health Department have been reporting a growing number of COVID cases in the community. Knox County and most of East Tennessee have a high COVID community level.

Dr. Jon Rysewyk, the director of schools, gave some insight on whether COVID will impact Knox County Schools and what the school year would look like. At this time, masks are not required but they are optional for the kids and staff to wear. KCS is also counting on people to be personally responsible for their children if they get sick.

“We’re asking people to do what they would do for any other illness you know to monitor their kids – and follow their doctor’s advice – and do those sorts of things – but there are no set protocols at this time for us,” Dr. Rysewyk said.

Classes start back in Knox County on Monday, Aug. 8.