Williamson County Schools announced Friday afternoon that students and staff will begin returning to school buildings for traditional, in-person teaching and learning Monday, Aug. 24, and using a phased-in approach.
According to a post to its Facebook page and an email sent to families, the district continues to be in regular contact with state and local health authorities and others as “we work to make informed decisions regarding the return to school for students.
“As of today,” the post continued, “we have dropped into the low community spread [level] after a slow reduction the past three weeks from the community peak.”
The Facebook post pointed out that Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson’s mask mandate remains in effect through the end of August, and that local authorities and service providers have shared that this reduced rate has been positively felt in their services.
“Our screenings, mask requirement and other safety protocols have worked well for our students and staff who have been on campus during our medium protocol,” the post reads.
At the same time, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Pearcy has stated that when schools reopen there will be positive cases. WCS is dependent on the local health department‘s work in those cases to ensure that they have the staff to conduct contact tracing when those events occur.
The district will be opening its campuses to additional grade levels through a phased-in return to ensure a smooth transition for the students’ first days on campus. The phased-in approach helps to ensure safety protocols can be implemented properly and that appropriate contact tracing by the health department can take place, according to the post.
The schedule is as follows:
- Beginning Monday, Aug. 24, all elementary school students, including pre-K and early childhood, will be on their school campus for on-campus learning. Bus service will be offered, and cafeterias will serve meals. Students in grades 6-12 will remain remote.
- On Friday, Aug. 28, sixth- and ninth-grade students will return to campus for on-campus learning. This will allow the newest learners at these school campuses to become familiar with the building, school day, etc. Bus service will be offered, and cafeterias will serve meals.
- Beginning Monday, Aug. 31 all traditional students will be on-campus. Bus service will be offered, and cafeterias will serve meals.
- WCS Online students will continue with their online program of study through the semester.
Should community spread conditions worsen, adjustments to these next steps may need to be made.