Cocke County school chair addresses upcoming school term

Parents and guardians of Cocke County students are interested in the status of school discussions for the new school term.

Dr. Ken Johnson, who chairs the Cocke County School Board, talked Tuesday about the status of discussions.

"The situation is fluid because Gov. (Bill) Lee recently issued a new executive order regarding the reopening of the state. And that will be dependent on the number of cases of COVID-19 in the area."

The board chair said a coalition of school directors in the Upper East Tennessee area have been meeting to formulate a uniformity in how they open schools.

"At this point, they are hoping that soon after July 4 they will be able to make a uniform statement to all the stakeholders and counties in East Tennessee, as to when school will open. And they will decide where there will be traditional classes, virtual classes or a blended form."

Johnson said as the number of COVID-19 cases changes, rather than making a "snap" decision which may have to be changed, the directors are being cautious as to what statement to release.

Cocke County is conducting a survey of stakeholders to get community input on the eventual decision. Johnson said within 24 hours of the posting of the survey, 25% of parents had already provided input.

"I think the majority of people prefer a traditional form of learning if possible because most of us understand we learn better in a traditional setting as compared to a virtual or distance setting."