Williamson County Schools has released its framework for the start of the 2020-21 school year scheduled for Friday, Aug. 7, as schools make plans to reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The lengthy document was posted Thursday afternoon to the district’s website, and includes an introductory letter from WCS Superintendent Jason Golden. The framework, which spells out a list of scenarios based on input from various health, education and business entities, will be the topic of discussion at a special-called Williamson County Board of Education work session Monday night.
In his letter, Golden wrote that the district is planning to “provide instruction on our school campuses, and we will be offering the WCS Online Program as an option for families this school year.
“This plan includes operational and instructional expectations and strategies,” Golden’s letter continued. “While we realize that we may need to adjust as the health of our community changes, WCS is committed to providing engaging instruction to your child this school year.”
Golden introduced a draft of the framework to board members in June, and since then the district has gathered feedback from state and local health departments, medical professionals, emergency management, special education parents, parent organization presidents, teacher organization leadership and business leaders.
“In addition,” Golden wrote, “we surveyed our parents regarding their preferences for the upcoming school year. Almost 23,000 participated in the parent survey.”
Golden's presentation to the board in June spelled out four levels to determine the district’s status for opening day. These are based on the percentage of active cases of the coronavirus to Williamson County’s population of 238,412.
According to the draft, if there are no active cases of COVID-19, schools would resume under normal operations. At the other extreme, a high spread of the virus (greater than 1%) means remote learning only with just a few select students in a building.
A medium spread (0.5% to 1%) also results in remote learning only with select students and a few activities allowed in the buildings or on campus.
At the time, Williamson County was in the category of low spread (less than 0.5%) with the number then at 263 active cases accounting for 0.1103% of the population. That number had grown to 948 active cases and 0.398% as of Thursday.
The framework gives details on various scenarios and looks at plans for elementary, middle and high schools.