Hamilton County, TN – At the beginning of the school year, Hamilton County schools, and schools in nearby areas, operated on a hybrid schedule due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the recent surge in cases, all K-12 schools will be switching back to this schedule, meaning students will only be on physical campuses two days a week.
This “phase 2” learning schedule will be implemented from Dec. 7 to Dec. 18, the two weeks leading up to winter break. Students will spend two days in classes, and for the other three they will do online learning. This is the first countywide change since “phase 3” learning was adopted at the end of August.
K-8 schools will be running on a normal schedule until Dec. 4, when they will start the transition to the two day model. Phase 2 is an A/B schedule that will split up the students who come for in-person learning. Some will attend on Mondays and Tuesdays while the rest will attend on Thursdays and Fridays, with Wednesday being online only for all students.
This decision comes in part because of the number of Covid cases present throughout the month of November.
There was an unprecedented surge in cases and hospitalizations, and 44 Hamilton County residents died. The rise began in the final week of October, and the record high number of cases is what prompted the school district to adopt another hybrid learning schedule.
The update on the Hamilton County School website says, “The health and safety of Hamilton County Schools staff and students is our top priority, and we are proud of the efforts made so far this year to ensure our learning environments are safe. Our team has been closely tracking the data, and due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in our community, we will transition ALL grade levels (K-12) to a Phase 2 learning schedule beginning Dec. 7 through Dec. 18.”
The school district will continue to update parents and families with any changes to the learning schedule. These changes will be based on how Covid-19 continues to effect the community of Hamilton County.
Health officials expect another surge as the Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end. Over 3.9 million people traveled through TSA check points over the Holiday weekend, and cases are expected to keep rising in Hamilton County.
As of right now, there are 56 Covid positive students and 47 positive staff members in the across the Hamilton County school district. There are currently 1,114 cases waiting for results to come in from possible exposure.
The school district will also be providing support for families who do not have space for their children to comfortably do virtual classes. There are several community partners who run virtual learning centers designed for these families. Staff members, as well as volunteers, are available to supervise the students on the days they have online learning.
The Hamilton County School district is currently planning to make on announcement on Dec. 18, the day that winter break starts, to let students and families know what the plan for next semester looks like.