MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — All Rutherford County Schools will be closed for Thanksgiving week due to COVID-19.
District officials made the announcement Tuesday, saying the district will use two "stockpile days" on Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24.
They will not be remote learning days, but rather will be closed, allowing students and staff to quarantine in hopes of them returning to school the week after Thanksgiving.
Read the full announcement from Communications Director James Evans below:
"This is James Evans with Rutherford County Schools and we have an important announcement for you regarding school during the week of Thanksgiving.
Because of the rising number of COVID cases in our community and the number of students and staff members on quarantine for one reason or another, we have decided to use two of our stockpile days — which is what we normally use for weather closings — for next Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 23 and 24.
Just to be clear, these will NOT be distance-learning days. All schools will be closed. Teachers will not be working and students do not have to report to school, including those on distance-learning. Again, there will be no school next week, although the Central Office will be open Monday through Wednesday.
By closing next week, we hope to allow many of our students and staff members to complete their quarantines so they can return for school the week after Thanksgiving. Please remember that Monday, Nov. 30, is a distance-learning flex day, which means all students will attend school virtually or work from home on assignments that will be given by their teachers.
One other important note. On Friday of this week, we will allow parental pickup of seven days worth of meals — both breakfast and lunch — at all our schools where meal pickup already occurs. Please contact your children’s school ahead of time to give the manager a heads up as this will be a quick turnaround for meal preparation. Please contact your school to find out the pickup time for meals.
We do know that many of you may be frustrated because of some of the school closures that we have had since the beginning of the school year.
We care deeply about the safety of our students and our employees, and while we want to keep schools open whenever possible, we also must close schools when it becomes necessary. We want in-person learning to continue, but one of the biggest factors we must consider is whether there are enough classroom teachers and support staff in the building to lead classes. When there’s not, we have to make the difficult decision to temporarily close a school building until staff members can return from quarantine. We also monitor the number of students on quarantine, however, those students are moved to distance-learning anyway during their quarantine period and so it doesn’t affect whether a school should be closed.
We hope this explanation sheds some light on the process and the metrics we use to determine when to temporarily close a school because we know there has been some questions and confusion. We did update our metrics on the district website today to help shed light on the process we use.
We want everyone to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday and hope that everyone will take social-distancing precautions so that we can get back to school and finish the first semester strong. We truly appreciate all that our parents, employees and students have done this school year during a very difficult season for our community.
Thank you again and please let us know if you have questions."