WASHINGTON CO, Tenn. (WJHL) — Washington County, Tennessee students are home this week due to COVID-19. The district shut down schools due to so many students and staff being in quarantine, leaving parents scrambling to change their schedules.
Some parents were forced to take the week off unpaid, and others are switching their schedules so they can be home during the day with their kids. Many are calling on family and friends to try to find someone to watch their young children.
However, even though they’ve had to adjust, some parents say they weren’t all that surprised.
“It’s been a difficult year and a half, I was prepared for this,” said Jamie Henderson. “I work in the schools, and I see the numbers are going up. When I went to pick them up at their school, there was a sense of urgency and panic that I probably haven’t seen in about a year.”
Henderson works for Johnson City Schools, but her kids go to Sulphur Springs Elementary, so she has to balance her school closures and quarantines with her children.
Her children are 13 and 9 years old, so while they’re old enough to be home alone, she would prefer them to be with an adult for the week. Their step-dad works swing shifts, and his schedule just happened to have him home during the day. Henderson says while it’s not ideal, they are making due.
Victoria Baldwin has two little ones at Jonesborough Elementary School and had to make a different plan for each day.
“They’re going to four different places this week,” said Baldwin. “Two of them my sisters’ places, and then their grandfather, and then a family friend. Not every day is the same because it’s different people and they all have different routines themselves and plans they already had in place.”
Baldwin said she is adjusting her schedule each day, some days going in early and others leaving early. She said she recently started a new job, and it will allow her to work remotely if this happens again. Baldwin said she’s not sure how she would have done it this week without a village of help.
Washington County students are set to return to the classroom Tuesday, Sept. 7 after the Labor Day holiday.