CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Millard L. House II, CMCSS Director of Schools released a letter regarding the reopening of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
House said the community is experiencing a wide range of emotions from excitement to fear.
When the CMCSS Communicable Disease Team (CDT) made the decision to close schools on Fri., Mar. 13, I hoped and prayed that the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic would improve quickly in our community and across the globe. However, a few weeks later we had to close school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Today, five months later, America is still in a national emergency.Millard L. House II
Having served over 25 years in public education, I know how important it is to have students in the schoolhouse. My career as a teacher and principal began in high-needs, low-socioeconomic schools in Tulsa, OK. It was during these years that I came to understand that while educators must remain focused on the academic growth and achievement of each child, in order to meet those benchmarks, schools have to meet students’ other needs. School is a safe haven for many students. A place where they feel loved, appreciated, and empowered. A place where children can have access to meals, school counselors and nurses, the arts and physical education, reliable internet access, special services, and so much more. An environment where structure, self-discipline, soft skills, and social and emotional learning are taught and reinforced. While schools are often measured only by standardized test scores, any educator can tell you that we also measure our success by meeting the needs of the whole child.Millard L. House II
House said that over the past month, CMCSS Safety and Health Department officials have investigated more than 35 suspected cases involving athletics and over 60 suspected cases involving employees.
Last Friday, there were more than 60 student-athletes given a 14-day quarantine.
The president of the Clarksville Montgomery County Education Association sent House a resolution on Monday. It said to, “begin school remotely until the number of COVID-19 cases is < 10 new cases per 100,000 persons per day for at least 14 days in a row with an infection rate of 0.5 or below as recommended by health professionals.”
The district put out a survey to all employees asking their level of comfort regarding the return to in-person learning.
The results showed that 30.6-percent of employees are comfortable, 21.1-percent feel neutral and 48.3-percent are uncomfortable with returning to traditional, in-person settings on August 31.
Faculty, staff, and administrators are continuing to prepare school buildings for a traditional, in-person return for those who chose that option for their children, and district leaders are continuing to navigate all of the challenges I mentioned above. Although CMCSS Senior Leadership and I are committed to making decisions in as timely a manner as possible so parents/guardians have time to prepare, these are unprecedented times. One thing we have all learned over the past five months is that we will continue to have peaks and valleys during the pandemic. As a father of two CMCSS students who has had to work with my family to make contingency plans, I cannot reiterate enough that families choosing traditional for their child(ren) should make preparations throughout the year in the event that individuals are quarantined and/or school buildings are closed and remote learning must take place.Millard L. House II
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )