DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Students in Dickson county started the first day of school as the nation closely monitors a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Certainly as we see increases in the number of cases that are out there, it does concern us, we continue to monitor those, we monitor those on a daily basis, I guess our message to parents would be to be flexible and know that when changes are made those are in the best interest of all students and staff because we want our students and staff to be safe every day,” said Director of schools Danny Weeks.
He said the importance of flexibility was one of the biggest lessons to come from the pandemic.
“COVID was one of the most challenging experiences for all of education, one of those things they never taught us in college, no way to prepare for something like that, a lot of lessons we have learned through COVID, carry those forth, one of the things I’m proudest of in Dickson County Schools is the flexibility of our staff and students, they have really been resilient during this time they have been flexible with guidelines continuing to change,” Weeks said.
Right now masks are optional, they will social distance as much as possible, and promote the importance of good hygiene.
“As Dickson Co. students return to school this year, we’re as normal as we can be,” Weeks said.
Last year he said there were about 20% of student learned remotely and so far this year all but 400 students are learning in-person. The district also has one of 29 new virtual schools in Tennessee, and Weeks explained that technology has also been a significant part of learning during the pandemic.
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“The technology that has gone along with it has been a great improvement for Dickson County students. At this point in time we are 1-1 devices with all students K-12 that is a big step for our system, that’s a big step for our teachers to learn to teach through google classrooms and using apps, taking up homework electronically, grading electronically, and things like that,” Weeks said. “It’s also been a great learning experience for students to experience those types of things, textbooks online, assignments online, those are things that will continue and we’ll continue to grow our expertise in providing an education with those.”
He said the summer learning program also went well and they are working to facilitate additional learning opportunities for students.
“This year we’ll have a tutoring program, mornings and afternoons, we’ll get that started as soon as we get some data and school rolling if there are families who believe their students are behind we’re going to have lots of opportunities for them to catch up,” said Weeks.
He said they were also glad to take TCAP last year and are expecting the results this week.