HCS looking at multiple options for students to learn in the fall


HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – As school gets another day closer to starting in Hamilton County, a survey of 25,000 people, mostly parents, shows over 40 percent would go back to in-person schooling in August amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey was detailed in a Zoom reopening panel discussion Thursday with over 500 people joining in.

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Though the reopening task force has not yet released the proposed phased plan, they did give answers to questions on stuff like schooling options.

For that they said they’re looking at three options for families, traditional in-person schooling, at-home virtual remote learning and virtual school.

“HCS at-home learning would allow our students to stay aligned with their zoned schools,” Chief Schools Officer Neelie Parker said.

“But the virtual school, however, would be literally formally enrolling in a school that is a virtual learning environment.”

School officials said that enrolling in the remote learning option would mean the student would be committed to that option for the semester.

Officials also discussed how remote learning might impact extracurricular activities and sports.

“If you choose that remote learning we are leaning toward kids being able to participate in athletics and extracurricular just as if they were in the school setting,” Chief Operations Officer Justin Robertson said.

As for coronavirus cases, the panel addressed how the school might handle if someone tests positive.

They said they are working to establish policy.

“What I can tell you is that we will have a policy and mechanism in place to separate that child in a safe manner, make sure they are not mingling with unaffected students,” Director of JROTC Lt. Col. Bill Brooks said.

The panel was asked about considerations for attendance given the situation.

They said that student attendance will be required, and they’ll be working with the school board to flesh out a policy for student attendance.

A draft of the proposed reopening plan and a second survey is set to be released Friday.

School board will likely take a vote on it Thursday.

School starts August 12th.