‘KCS At Home’ launches Monday; school leaders explain plan during pandemic closure


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – On Monday students in the Knox County School system will be studying during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s essentially a distance learning plan called “KCS At Home” where students will receive educational material in packets and online.

  • 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.

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

On Thursday we spoke with Superintendent Bob Thomas, “This is my 47th year in education and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

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

The plan notes that all high school instruction will be online because of course combinations for each student.

“What we’re trying to prevent right now with our instructional packets is to keep students engaged in learning so we don’t lose ground. Once we come back in the fall, and hopefully we’ll be back before then, our teachers and educators will make assessments if there are content gaps in learning, our teachers will work with students to close those gaps,” explained Superintendent Thomas.

Seniors on track to graduate will not be impacted by this closure. Superintendent Thomas says those who are taking AP courses, dual enrollment courses, international baccalaureate courses, industry certifications will have new learning introduced in their courses to prepare for testing.

Superintendent Thomas says juniors who will be moving up to be seniors will have two opportunities to take the ACT.

“Certainly what we would like our parents to understand, this is never going to replace a teacher in front of their students in the classroom,” said Superintendent Thomas.

He says when it comes to making up lost days during the summer, that would be a challenge, “If we’re through this crisis by that time families have vacations, students have jobs we’ll just have to see what happens there but again it’s a board decision and it would not be my recommendation.”

Superintendent Thomas says a concern for school leaders and part of the delay was making sure there weren’t any gaps in access for students, “We’ve got a limited number of laptops that we’re distributing, I think about 800 at the high school level. That will be first come, first served and we’re looking if you have a laptop but no internet service we’re looking at how we can provide hot spots.”

New educational material will be given out and available during the closure and parents can connect with their child’s teacher.

Superintendent Thomas says this plan is a work in progress, they’re meeting everyday to discuss any possible adjustments or ways to meet the needs of students.

KCS is also working with the state on guidance for what final grades will look like.

For students who have a learning disability or are special needs and have an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan), we’re told teachers, case workers and school leaders will meet with the family to make sure students have everything they need.

“Take care of yourself. We will get through this. We will be better after this and we’re jut looking forward to getting back in school,” added Superintendent Thomas.

A virtual community meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 7th, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., where parents can have their questions addressed. It will be live-streamed on KCS TV Comcast Channel 10. Parents are asked to submit questions by 5 p.m. on Saturday. You can email those questions to kcsathome@knoxschools.org.


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