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The Trousdale County School Board is expected to endorse remaining on the current hybrid schedule for the second semester of the 2020-21 school year.

The Board will meet on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. in the gymnasium at Jim Satterfield Middle School, where a final decision will be made.

In October, board members opted to remain on the hybrid plan for the rest of the fall and said they would decide on the spring semester in December.

At Tuesday’s work session board members were in consensus that the hybrid model was the best option at this time, especially given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases both in Trousdale County and across Tennessee.

On Tuesday, Trousdale had 76 active cases according to the state’s dashboard, almost three times what it had been a week before.

“From the beginning, I asked the board to try to make a semester-by-semester decision,” Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said. “I think that’s even more important now because we are going into assessments. We need to build a schedule.”

Under the current model, students go to school two days per week, either Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday, and learn from home remotely the other three. Elementary and CDC students have had the option of going to school on Wednesday.

Jason Sullivan, who at his first board meeting in September pushed to go back to full-time in-person classes, said even “my squeakiest wheels” among his constituents have accepted the changing circumstances and accept the need to stay on a hybrid.

“I don’t even want to think about the possibility of not going (at all)… One person told me, ‘I’m acclimated now; I want it to stay this way.’ ”

Board Chairman Johnny Kerr noted other nearby districts that have had to move to entirely virtual classes or to a hybrid schedule, including Lebanon Special School District, Wilson County, Sumner County, Smith County and Rutherford County.

Kerr noted that the board would examine circumstances on a monthly basis and could make changes to the learning model if the situation improves now that COVID vaccines are becoming available.

Kerr also said keeping the hybrid model would benefit parents who have gotten used to the current model.

“For our parents’ sake, they need to know so they can plan,” Kerr said.

Changes to Trousdale’s Strategic Compensation Plan for teacher bonuses will also be voted upon Thursday. Board members temporarily froze the bonus plan in August amid questions of how benchmarks could be met with a lack of testing results.

The state’s goals remain the same as last year, Satterfield said, and an attendance component of the bonus plan is among certain indicators being removed.

Board members will also vote Thursday on the 2021-22 school calendar after surveying the district’s teachers and principals.

Satterfield said 82.5% of respondents preferred the traditional option, similar to what Trousdale schools have used the past several years. It has school starting the last week of July and ending in mid-May, with fall and spring breaks and other days off built into the calendar.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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