UPDATE: The Carter County Board of Education approved a plan for students enrolled in the in-person learning pathway to return to school.
Under the plan, in-person classes will resume Monday, Aug. 24 at 25 percent capacity for two weeks. Then, schools will operate at 50 percent capacity starting the Tuesday after Labor Day, or Sept. 8.
The board can re-evaluate the plan at a workshop and meeting scheduled on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17. The plan is contingent on the county remaining in the “yellow” zone regarding COVID-19 cases.
“That is to give principals the ability to maneuver, to give schools the flexibility to make the changes they need to make,” said board member, Dr. LaDonna Stout-Boone.
The plan allows for sports and extracurricular activities to resume. Athletics will still have to comply with TSSAA guidelines. Parents and student-athletes will be required to sign a consent form in front of an administrator acknowledging the risks of COVID-19.
“Our area school systems are opening up. If parents were going to give them the choice to come back, let’s give them the choice. You want to come back? Come on back,” Boone said.
It’s unclear when the high schools will receive their game schedules.
CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Parents and students stood out in the rain Thursday evening ahead of a Carter County Schools Board of Education meeting with a message, “we want to play.”
News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel reported that more than a dozen people lined the road and chanted “let them go back to school” and “let us play.”
“Just to get it taken away it was pretty bad for a while and since all the other schools are getting to do it, why shouldn’t Carter County?” asked Hampton High School’s quarterback, Conor Jones.
People chanted at board members as they entered the meeting.
“We’re going to stand up and speak up for our kids and not just take their decisions lying down,” said Cloudland High School parent, Josh McCoury. “We want our kids to get back in school and not get behind.”
Several high school seniors at the protest, simply wanting to return to school in person.
“We just want everything to be back to normal, we don’t care to wear masks or do social distancing, we just want to be back in school,” said Happy Valley High School Senior and softball player, Sierra Southerland.
We reported earlier this month that the board of education voted to delay the start of the school year by one week and suspend all extra-curricular activities, including sports, for two weeks.
“We waited our lives to be seniors,” said Olivia Absher, another Happy Valley High School Senior and softball player. “Your senior year is supposed to be the best year of your life and it’s supposed to be fun and I just feel like it’s making a lot of kids almost depressed.”
Earlier Thursday, Superintendent Tracy McAbee told News Channel 11 that he felt “relatively confident” that the board of education would discuss children returning to the classroom.
You can watch the Carter Co. Board of Education meeting on our WJHL Facebook page below.