Superintendent Thomas addresses changes coming next school year

Education

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Mayor Jacobs’ announcement of the end of the mask mandate in Knox County raises the question of what comes next for Knox County Schools.

We asked some of those questions to Superintendent Bob Thomas at the Disparities in Educational Outcomes Community meeting on Tuesday. He discussed a number of topics including virtual learning this fall and mandatory masks at school.

Right now masks are required, but Thomas says things could change.

“Until the board takes some action to either abandon that policy, we will follow that until it sunsets August 1. However as we have seen today, there could be changes,” Thomas said.

“There could be changes in the next 24 to 48 hours because the other thing our board approved was to follow the Tennessee Department of Health guidelines so if the Tennessee Department of Health were to make a change and follow what the governor said, that would allow me to make a change in terms of face coverings.”

Another change coming next school year is to the virtual learning program. There’s limited space. Only 4,500 students will be allowed to enroll in virtual learning.

“We can’t have this hybrid model any longer because of the state board ruling. But my hope is that we’ll see more parents and more students coming back to us for in person learning,” Thomas said.

Protesters also attended the meeting as they continue the spread of their message — calling for justice for Anthony Thompson Jr. The protest ended peacefully. Demonstrators say they’re hoping to set up a private meeting with Thomas.

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