NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Williamson County School district is reopening under its Medium Community Spread protocol Friday, meaning even though all parents and students were initially given a choice between virtual and traditional learning, students in grades third through 12th will learn remotely to start the year.
First and second-grade students will head back to the classrooms on Friday where masks are required and temperatures will be checked. This will be the case for the district for at least the first few weeks.
Kindergartners will also return for on-campus classes, but they won't start school until August 17.
Schools officials said with the county-wide mask mandate and current COVID-19 case numbers, they are optimistic about the future. But for now, they will focus on making sure all students are set up for success.
"On the health side, we've seen our numbers starting to flatten out in Williamson County. Our mayor issued a mask order a few weeks ago. We're hopeful that's an indicator our community is making some really good decisions and it's going to enable us to get students back on campus sooner rather than later," said Jason Golden, Williamson County director of schools.
The district also gave out Chromebooks to students who needed them for remote learning. These students were asked to familiarize themselves with the online learning tools ahead of the first day of school.
"For remote learners, we know there are going to be a lot of growing pains, logistics of making sure I can log on to my computer. One nice thing about this process is students will develop some familiarity with remote learning structure with our platforms," Golden said.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, there are safety protocols in place. One employee from Chapman's Retreat Elementary tested positive, so all students at that school will be starting the year remotely on Friday while the staff is quarantined and offices are cleaned.
The district will monitor how the return to school process goes over the next few weeks before consulting with the health department about any changes that need to be made.
Recently, the district has received backlash for its decision to not go back to a fully traditional schedule. A group of parents held a rally demanding the district open the school doors.
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