Knox County students return to class with hope, optimism and hand sanitizer

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WATE) — Knox County Schools are back in session and the first day of school got off to an exciting start Monday morning. 

“We know that our attitudes kind of contribute to their attitudes, so we bring the excitement and hope we get it in return. They are really good at delivering, so we are excited for them,” said Lucy Fall, a special education teacher. 

There was no shortage of excitement on Tipton Street at Dogwood Elementary School. “It was a little hard to sleep last night. Everyone had the jitters,” said Adrienne Notees, a parent and teacher. 

The first-day jitters quickly disappeared as students made their way off the bus and toward their teachers. 

“It feels amazing! I’m going to miss this place once I go off to middle school,” said Silas Notees, a fifth-grader at Dogwood Elementary School. Silas Notees is happy to be back with his friends in class for their final year at Dogwood Elementary after COVID-19 interrupted learning last year. 

“My hope is that we can have as much of a normal school year as we can this year,” said Superintendent Bob Thomas. 

Some parents are still anxious about what school will look like during this next phase of the pandemic. At this time, masks are not required at Knox County Schools. “I’m nervous for my unvaccinated kiddos who aren’t old enough to get vaccinated yet, but we’ve talked about safety and how to be safe and keep our distance and wear masks,” said Adrienne Notees. 

Teachers say, rest assured, your kid’s safety and well-being are their top priority. “Know that when they are here with us, they are being loved and cared for and taken care of we are just as excited to have them back as hopefully, they are to be back,” said Fall. 

Superintendent Thomas says it’s important to have students in class getting the instruction and social support they need. He adds the district is reporting rising rates of learning loss, based on achievement data that will go public this week. 

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