Hamilton County Schools Seek Guidance From Parents In Navigating COVID

Hamilton County Schools Pursue Parental Feedback In The Form Of A Survey And Ask If Parents Want Them To Operate Differently.

Photo: Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson

Hamilton County, TN – In an updated posted by Hamilton County Schools, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson reiterated what was talked about during the school board meeting earlier in the week.

At the school board meeting, Johnson and other school board officials agreed on the fact that children need to come first when making decisions about Covid-19.

In the update, Johnson talked about the survey that can provide the school district with valuable feedback about how they have handled the pandemic and adjusted school schedules.

Johnson mentioned the survey at the school board meeting by saying, “We’re looking to get feedback around, not so much the criteria for thresholds, but how we might operate within the thresholds based on what we have learned and the data that we have.”

There are three main aspects that Johnson hopes he and the rest of the school board can gain guidance about based on the survey.

One, is how much time families and students need between each phase.

Johnson mentions that before the start of school, most families were hoping for as much time as possible between phases. This would give them more time to prepare for the alternate school schedules. However, trying to give out three weeks of information at a time before Thanksgiving break put the district in a “bind,” and Johnson is hoping to gain feedback about what they can do differently.

“We were trying to give the next three weeks of guidance around that current day case count, and as cases continue to rise, that’s not something that we feel that we can sustain.” Johnson said in the video update.

He went on to say that the school board also hopes to get feedback on grade banding, and if that is a feasible idea moving forward.

Johnson asks families if they want to “operate differently” within these phases by turning to grade banding. This could see students placed into designated school buildings based on what grade level they are at.

Finally, Johnson and the school board hope to receive feedback on the ‘Safe Start, Great Start’ plan that was introduced at the beginning of the school year. This plan divides students into two groups.

Group A attends school Monday and Tuesday while Group B attends on Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday being exclusively online.

Before the school year started, the school board heard opinions about the plan from parents in Hamilton County, and Johnson wants to know if it is something that they want to continue.

Johnson ended the video update by assuring parents that the essential worker policy does not apply to any school-based staff who are in direct contact with children.

“That policy would be applied on a very isolated basis,” Johnson said, and it would not apply to personnel who are in direct contact with children.

Johnson understands that a big concern for parents right now is not being informed about what is happening, and he says that schools will be sending out daily emails with updated information.

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