KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Masks, temperature checks and contact tracing will no longer be part of the daily grind for students and staff in Knox County Schools after a year of COVID-19 guidelines. The school district will also be allowing extra-curricular activities and visitors again.
The move signals a partial return to normalcy. In late April, prior to the end of the 2020-21 school year, the Knox County Board of Education had decided to keep the mask policy in place in a split-vote at a special-called meeting. They later let the mask policy sunset in late May. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines, saying that vaccinated teachers and students no longer need to wear masks inside school buildings.
In an update this week to its website regarding information for the 2021-22 school year, Knox County Schools said they were working hard to prepare for the upcoming academic year.
KCS said its expectation is that the COVID-19 restrictions implemented a year ago will not be in place for the 2021-22 school year. Specifically, this means that:
- Masks will not be required for students, teachers or employees, although they will be allowed at each individual’s discretion.
- Temperature checks will not be required for students, employees or visitors.
- Knox County Schools will not conduct contact tracing.
- Visitors will be allowed in schools.
- Extracurricular activities and field trips will be allowed.
Students will be back in class for a half-day on Monday, Aug. 9.
KCS will continue to make use of Chromebooks provided to all K-12 students through the district’s 1:1 initiative. In-person students should continue bringing their fully charged Chromebooks to class every day.
A year ago, the district began rolling out its registration to issue Chromebooks to students ahead of the school year, when both in-person and virtual learning options were offered.
The school district will continue to consult with the Knox County Health Department and to review guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Department of Health. If circumstances related to COVID-19 change, KCS said it will respond promptly in coordination with these agencies.
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