The Giles County School Board this week released an updated back-to-school plan based on the current COVID-19 pandemic metrics for Giles County.
The county has been in medium spread, or greater than 0.5 percent of the county actively infected, for more than three days, prompting the change.
The revised schedule extends the initial phase-in period for “traditional students,” the term being used for students who will be attending school in person, to two weeks. Only students who will be attending school in person are required to attend these sessions. The traditional students will then be broken into A and B groups. Students in the A group will attend in person on Mondays and Tuesdays, and continue the rest of the week with virtual learning. Students in the B group will do virtual schooling at the beginning of the week and attend in person Thursdays and Fridays.
The A/B schedule will continue until the county has remained in low spread for more than 7 calendar days. If the county reaches high spread (greater than 1 percent of the population with active cases) for three days, all students will move to full-time virtual learning.
The start date for students choosing full-time virtual learning has also been pushed back to Aug. 17. During the two-week phase-in period (Aug. 3-14), parents, teachers and students will participate in orientation and training “to include verification of contact information, platform navigation, student and parent expectations, device distribution and attendance requirements,” said the school board.
According to the Board of Education, “Students who are in the CDC and developmental Pre-K classrooms will be attending Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.”
Families can expect to be contacted by their children’s schools regarding A/B group assignments and virtual learning trainings.
Gov. Bill Lee released updated guidelines for Tennessee schools this week.
“Providing parents a choice in their children’s education is incredibly important,” Lee said. “In-person learning is the medically sound, preferred option. Our state is doing everything we can to work with local school districts and ensure that in-person learning is made available in a way that protects the health and safety of our students and educators, and this plan helps us accomplish that goal.”
Quarantining and contact tracing will help reduce the spread of the virus once schools reopen.
“If a child is ill, parents should not send them to school where they could infect others. If a child is diagnosed with COVID-19, parents are asked to assist the Department of Health by contacting the child’s close contacts so those individuals can quarantine at home,” the governor’s office said in a press release. If a child is exposed to COVID-19, they are asked to quarantine at home for 14 days.
The state will also be releasing resources to empower parents during this unprecedented time of learning at home, including:
Early Literacy Resource: A free resource for students Pre-K through second grade to build foundational skills and support early literacy;
PBS Learning Series: Complete lessons for first-ninth grade students in both math and ELA taught by Tennessee teachers;
STE(A)M Resource Hub: Three challenges per week to spark creative thinking, design and career exploration from the home;
Start of the Year Checkpoint: A free and optional assessment to measure student performance at the beginning of the year and help inform educators about student readiness for the year ahead.
The state is also assisting local schools by providing grant money for purchasing devices for student use, personal protective equipment for students and teachers, disinfecting kits to last the year for each classroom and additional funding for the costs associated with implementing virtual learning.
Contact sports in schools may resume following the guidelines of the TSSAA.