MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — Rutherford County students will return to classrooms next Monday, and teachers across the county are making the final preparations for their return.

Blackman Elementary, Middle, and High school educators met for a joint session on Tuesday, Aug. 1. The educators had breakfast, heard from the director of schools, and met with their cohorts to discuss their plans for the year ahead — including safety protocols.

“We have been really training hard for safety, so I think safety is a key focus for all of us and this week is part of that,” said Lorie Gober, principal at Blackman Elementary School. “By Friday, everyone in our building should be ready to go and know what to do in case there is some kind of emergency.”

The Blackman principals said they’re still looking for special education teachers, but otherwise, they’re 99% staffed.

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Blackman Elementary and Middle School have new principals this year, Lorie Gober and Jessica Jackson, respectively. High School Principal Justin Smith is entering his 23rd year with the school district.

“Blackman is unique in the way in which it has transformed in the two-plus decades I’ve been here, but because of conversations like this, we’ve maintained to manage a small community feel in a much larger growing area,” said Smith. “That’s something that we’re committed to not losing.”

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The teacher work sessions will continue through Friday, Aug. 4.

Rutherford County Schools’ first day back to school will be on an abbreviated, two-hour schedule on Monday, Aug. 7.