KCS superintendent reflects on first week of school; alludes to possible move to online classes ‘at some point’

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The possibility of current in-person classes moving online was touched on in a letter sent to Knox County Schools families Friday night following the first week students and staff returned amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

After the first full week of school, in which several COVID-19 cases were confirmed within the district, Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas sent out a letter to families reflecting gratitude for their patience while also affirming a return to classes next week.

Students and staff returned to schools and began online classes on Monday, Aug. 24.

The district also launched its COVID-19 Dashboard Monday, with 13 total active cases confirmed in the district. By Friday, the number had gone up to 27.

KCS leaders had planned for the schools’ reopening for several months with COVID-19 precautions in place for students attending in-person classes. A virtual option was also created for students that families could choose — for the entirety of the semester.

But the presence of COVID-19 in schools was something district leaders acknowledged to be likely.

While we are working hard to ensure the school day goes smoothly, we know there will be bumps along the way. Please know that we are doing everything we can to help minimize disruptions, but it is possible that at some point during the year, your child’s in-person class, grade level, or school could move to online learning for a period of time.

Thomas’ letter also asks that parents and families make every effort to have a plan in place for their child to learn remotely.

Below is the full letter:

Dear KCS families,
As we end the first week of school, I want to express my gratitude to all our students, families, educators, and administrators for your patience and your resolve to help make this a great start to the school year.
I know that school looks a little different, but I couldn’t be more proud of how each of you has risen to this challenge. We remain committed to providing a safe teaching and learning environment and to continue providing the best educational opportunities for our students, whether in-person or virtually.
While we are working hard to ensure the school day goes smoothly, we know there will be bumps along the way. Please know that we are doing everything we can to help minimize disruptions, but it is possible that at some point during the year, your child’s in-person class, grade level, or school could move to online learning for a period of time.
While we know this will be difficult for some families, it will give us the flexibility to address specific challenges at specific schools and limit the impact to the fewest number of students possible.
I am asking for your patience and understanding if this occurs. If we do move to virtual learning in a class, please make every effort to have a plan in place for your child to learn remotely. We are committed to providing families with enough notice to make whatever arrangements may be needed; however, depending on circumstances, there may be times that might not be possible.
Again, I am so excited for our students and educators to be back in school and look forward to their return next week. I know that this will continue to be a great school year!

Sincerely,
Bob

Bob Thomas, Superintendent, Knox County Schools

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