SchoolBoard

Trousdale County Schools have released their blueprint for opening the 2020-21 school year — one that will involve both in-class and online education.

The School Board voted to approve the plan during its June 18 meeting and Director of Schools Clint Satterfield posted a video message Monday for parents explaining how the opening of schools would commence.

“As always, we want to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff through the use of social distancing,” Satterfield said via video.

The blueprint has schools opening as planned on Thursday, July 30, with students either attending school in person on a Monday-Thursday or a Tuesday-Friday schedule. Students with last names beginning with A-J will be in school on Monday and Thursday, with learning from home on Tuesday and Friday. Students with last names beginning with K-Z will be in school on Tuesday and Friday, with learning from home on Monday and Thursday.

Under both plans, students in grades 6-12 will lean from home on Wednesdays, while limited enrollment for grades K-5 will be available at school.

“We can’t take all the students that day, but we’re going to try to accommodate parents,” Satterfield said.

Siblings with differing last names in the same household will follow the same schedule to try to ease the burden on parents. The school system also is working on options to provide lunches to students each day whether they are in school or at home, but Satterfield said it was too soon to say how that would work.

“Feeding students is at the top of our priority list. We’re going to do something,” he said.

The school calendar is remaining the same except for two changes. Power Fridays have been eliminated and the fall parent-teacher conferences will not be held, meaning Oct. 16 will now be a regular instructional day.

For those parents who may be reluctant to send their children back to school, a fully virtual option will be offered with learning at home every day. Per state policy, to enroll in virtual school a student must have a computer, a printer and Internet access at home.

“We wanted to be sure that our schedule provided the flexibility that we could instantaneously transition to a distance learning module like we had in the spring, or gradually transition back to a traditional learning module,” Satterfield added.

Satterfield said Chromebooks would be provided for every student in grades 3-12 to be used on the days of at-home learning. At-home work will be graded and attendance will be counted. Parents will have to sign the district’s responsible use policy, taking responsibility if the Chromebook is lost or damaged.

“Our teachers are being trained on the use of Google Classroom and we’ll be using that for all students in grades 3-12,” Satterfield said. “If we have an intermittent closure, we’ll be able to flip to distance learning overnight.”

Students without Internet access will still be able to use the Chromebooks at home to complete assignments, which can then be submitted on days the student is at school, Satterfield said.

“That Chromebook has the ability to work offline,” Satterfield said. “They can download their work and assignments, then work on it the next day at home, even watch video.”

WiFi hotspots are also being installed at each school to allow an alternate option for Internet access to students.

Students involved in dual enrollment at Hartsville’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology or at Volunteer State Community College will have the option of attending school in some fashion all five days, Satterfield added.

Various health protocols will be in place once school begins for those students in the buildings, including:

  • Spacing all student desks and sitting at least six feet apart;
  • Protective masks will be required when social distancing cannot be maintained;
  • Buses shall require only one student per seat and will be disinfected at the end of each morning and afternoon route;
  • Reinforcing hand washing and covering of coughs and sneezes;
  • Keeping classes together during the day when practicable;
  • Serving meals in classrooms instead of the cafeteria;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas throughout the day;
  • Disinfecting classrooms at the end of each day; and
  • Limiting non-essential visitors to schools.

“We want to get this blueprint out to our parents early so they can make plans,” Satterfield said. “We will provide a guidance document that we are in the process of developing.”

That document is supposed to be available in the next couple of weeks.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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