Johnson City Schools releases plan to bring students back to campus in the fall, offering a remote learning option


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Johnson City Schools have released its plan for students to return in the fall. The re-entry information outline was released to parents, staff, and students on Tuesday afternoon.

The plan is a draft that outlines an on-campus experience for students as well as the option for remote learning. District officials have been drafting this plan since schools closed in May with every intention of bringing students back to a safe and healthy campus.

Superintendent of Johnson City Schools, Steve Barnett, says a two-page outline of the 25-page plan is now accessible to parents through messenger and on their website as well as a presentation regarding the in-person learning protocol.

Barnett feels strongly that all students, especially younger students at a critical educational time in their life, be brought back in the fall. “It’s important for those relationships to continue and for students to learn in the classroom and learn from each other as well,” he said.

He ensures their campuses will be safe environments for students with precautions set in place. Those precautions include temperature checks, masks in common areas and on buses, social distancing, and following CDC guidelines for cleaning. While students need to bring masks to wear, Barnett assures they will not have to wear them all day. “If they’re seated at their seat, there are barriers and a distance, then all those protocols are in the plan,” he said.

Classes are set to return to campus on August 4th, but for those not ready to send their child back, the district is offering a remote learning option. However, they are requesting parents to respond by July 17th if they plan on utilizing remote learning, this way officials can organize staff.

“We’ll gather that information in that survey between now and the 17th, make decisions with personnel so that the teachers that are teaching remotely are teachers that are basically specializing in that,” said Barnett.

Parents were able to weigh in on what they wanted to see this school year by responding to surveys. The answers from the surveys helped create this draft. Christina Maiden is both a parent of children who attend Johnson City Schools and a teacher at a Washington County School. She said the ability to voice her opinion on this matter means a lot to her and other parents.

“We had a place in there where we could type how we felt so we could at least have our voice heard and then they can look and see what the majority feels,” said Maiden.

The plan also states that hand-sanitizer will be available in all classrooms and common spaces, and full-time LPNs will be available to provide medical support to students. Handwashing breaks will also be provided throughout the day and personal hygiene practices will be encouraged. Buses will be cleaned twice daily.

The plan also outlines how they plan to respond to the possibility of a positive COVID-19 test among staff and students. While this is the current plan, Barnett said it’s not the final plan. They hope to continue receiving feedback from parents and staff in order to alter the plan to provide the best learning environment for students.

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