WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the debate around reopening the economy continues, so does the debate about the best way to start the school year.
Williamson County Schools is expected to announce its decision about the upcoming school year Thursday afternoon.
School leaders said their response to COVID-19 is constantly changing. They’ve been considering reopening plans since the spring and whether classes should start as scheduled is still up in the air.
Williamson County already offers a virtual learning program. The deadline to opt in has been extended through Sunday, July 26.
Superintendent Jason Golden said he’s worked closely with health officials to create a metric system.
Whether schools stay open depends on community spread. At less than a half percentage of positive cases, schools may remain open but if cases grow, in-person classes will be reevaluated.
Golden acknowledged there are a lot of unknowns
“Schools are not in session. This growth is occurring without schools in session. So what we don’t know is what happens when schools start. I have really two pieces of advice from somebody who’s not a medical professional. Number one, let’s do the best we can to honor the mayor’s order. We can get this virus under control in the community. Number two, we are going to do an analysis based on what happens in schools when we start. I’m very optimistic we have the ability to start schools on day one under this plan,” said Golden.
Golden is optimistic students will return to campus but keeping everyone healthy is top priority.
“We need to protect our students. We need to protect our students. We need to do the best we can based on the medical advice we have. But we realize we have teachers and staff in the building we have that same obligation to. Every individual, person, is important,” added Golden.
The first day of class is a half-day scheduled for Aug. 7. Students and teachers will be required to wear a mask on campus.
A decision from school leaders expected at 2:30 Thursday afternoon.
News 2 digs deeper into how schools are moving forward safely for the new academic year. See how other districts around Middle Tennessee are handling everything from classroom concerns to the future of sports in our special series. Click here to see more.