Sumner County school officials studying Europe, Katrina aftermath for best return plan during COVID-19 pandemic

Special Reports

COVID-19: Schools Moving Forward

SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – They’re studying, cramming even. This time it’s not students, but administrators and educators prepping for a kind of test they’ve never seen, not until COVID-19.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to keep kids safe,” said Scott Langford, the Assistant Director of Instruction in Sumner County.

It’s not like the answers come from the back of the book, there’s nothing written on this, no precedent to follow. “No one had a playbook for a pandemic this time, but our plans are to be able to flip back and forth between distance and in class and get better at what we started this year,” said Langford. 

Sumner County School district leaders acknowledge they’re not in the position to make a final call yet, or take this test, so to speak.  

Langford invites parents and students to weekly Facebook Live broadcasts to provide updates on their progress. He says they’re taking notes, even abroad. “We’ve been looking at other countries that are starting back up, back to school, seeing how they’re handling it, what their results are.” 

Closer to home, that also includes how schools in Louisiana and Mississippi handled the aftermath of Katrina. In the fall, the district will move forward with lesson plans, but must also find ways to address what may have been lost since schools closed. 

“What we’re going to have to do, as schools identify where holes are, is help give students some very specific interventions to help them catch up,” said Langford. 

Likewise, they’re waiting on guidance from the governor’s office. At the moment the district is not ready to roll out a decision for student social distancing, or class sizes. Virtual and distance learning, internet access, and improving that capability, will remain priorities in the meantime. 

“There are a lot of decisions to be made over the next month or so to get ready for the fall. We’re hopeful, hopeful, hopeful we’ll be back in August normally, with no interruptions.” 

But like anything related to this pandemic, it can change. Schools have to cover all their bases, plan for all scenarios and protect a precious portion of the population.

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.

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