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Masks optional as Cheatham County students head back to class

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Posted at 7:01 AM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 08:04:05-04

ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Monday is the first full day of school for Cheatham County Schools. This year, the director of schools said students can expect a little more sense of normalcy.

Director of Schools Dr. Cathy Beck said masks are optional this year. The district also will not be standing out in front of school taking temperatures before students come in like last year. However, Beck said they will keep up with the cleaning around schools and wiping down surfaces.

Today grades one through 12th will start with a full day of in-person learning. Friday, grades one through 9th got a jump start, going back for a half a day.

Like a lot of school districts, Beck said navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, and it’s caused a lot of learning loss. She’s been in education 33 years and said the biggest challenge of navigating the pandemic has been the unknowns and information changing about the virus.

To combat learning loss, Beck said they’re trying to hire tutors to be in every school to work with small groups. The district is also working to put students back on track that are below grade level. Beck said it’s going to take teachers and parents investing in the student’s education.

Another challenge for Cheatham County Schools is hiring and filling positions. There are not enough people applying to work in schools she says.

"I think it's in speaking with my colleagues across the Mid-Cumberland region, we're all feeling the effects of it, not just teachers but bus drivers, cafeteria workers, specialty positions like school psychiatry, psychologists, across the board. It is becoming more and more challenging to find highly qualified candidates,” said Beck.

Beck said they’re trying to think out of the box when it comes to hiring. She said if there are some retired teachers looking to work again, they would love to have them come work for the county.