Sumner County families try to navigate upcoming hybrid school schedule

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 22:52:36-04

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Compared to other school districts in Middle Tennessee, Sumner County Schools is taking a hybrid approach for the upcoming school year.

All students in the county will learn from home for three days and at school for two days for the first two weeks. If all goes according to plan, kids from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade will learn at school completely. Everyone else will remain in a hybrid schedule. However, the plan could always change depending on the COVID-19 case count.

Assistant Director of Schools for Instruction Scott Langford said in a Facebook Live Q&A last week that getting elementary school kids back as soon as possible is important.

"Those years are so huge in terms of literacy, in terms of intervention and math acquisition. We want to give our kids the very best," he said.

The district is also offering students to commit to a virtual academy if they want to stay out of school altogether for a variety of reasons.

Parents like Catherine Gregor said while she's glad her eight-year-old student who attends Jack Anderson Elementary will get to socialize with her peers again, working around the schedule has been worrisome.

"Were all in the same boat trying to figure out how to navigate this. It feels like everything was delivered last minute. I've had to scramble to get a computer, scramble to get tutoring all in the period of seven days," she said.

Other parents told NewsChannel 5 that they don't mind sending their kids back to school, but admit the latest plan seems confusing. Gregor prefers the same approach Metro Nashville Public Schools has taken to stick to a decision and keep kids learning remotely because of the additional resources. On the other hand, she knows her daughter needs the time to socialize again.

She said planning around a fluid situation, let alone bouncing different learning environments depending on the day, can be tough.

"The schedule itself is not the problem. It's the duration of the schedule. Let me look at parameters and guidance of what we're expected to do," Gregor said. "In our household both parents work from home. I'm on conference calls all day so trying to be present to her and trying to complete my job task is not really fair to her."

Langford asked through the Facebook feed for grace and benefit of the doubt when times may not go smoothly. Remote learning will be a test since the district is currently waiting for more laptops.

"I would love if it we could get everybody a laptop. That would require 30,000 laptops and we have 11,800," Langford added.

The district "Path to Re-entry" plan lists out safety protocols in place for students returning to classrooms including daily screenings for symptoms such ad midday temperature checks of all students.

Buses will continue to run but students must wear a mask before they get on.