Students, educators hoping for a return to normalcy

Even when it lasted from Memorial Day to Labor Day, summer never seemed long enough.

Now as students return to class at the beginning of August, summer break comes and goes more quickly than ever, especially this year in Hamblen County as COVID delayed the start of school last year and pushed the final days of the 2020-21 school year into June.

So, even though it feels like students were only just dismissed from school, across the Lakeway Area, it is time for them to return.

Schedule-wise, the new year will be mostly back to normal.

Students in Hamblen County will come back to school, starting Aug. 5 and staff members will be back to school on Aug. 2. This is in light of last year when students held off returning to school until September due to rising COVID-19 infections across Hamblen County.

Student return dates across the Lakeway Area are:

• Claiborne County schools: Aug. 9

• Cocke County schools: Aug. 3

• Grainger County schools: Aug. 4

• Greene County schools: Aug. 6

• Hamblen County schools: Aug. 5

• Hancock County schools: Aug. 2

• Hawkins County schools: Aug. 9

• Jefferson County schools: Aug. 5

• Rogersville City school: Aug. 9

After a year of online learning, masks and social distancing, the hope is that students will return this year with the hope of return to normal as much as possible.

In Hamblen County that means schools will open with no mask mandate. It’s important to note, however, that doesn’t mean a mandate will not return if active case numbers demand it.

As Hamblen County’s vaccination numbers remain low and active cases climb, a mask mandate may have to be reinstated.

Another step toward normalcy is that students will not have their temperature taken at the beginning of the day before they enter school.

One thing that will not be back to normal is the availability of school supplies.

Retailers are reporting they expect shortages across necessary school supplies.

Whatever the challenges that arrive with the start of the 2021-2022 school year, the upshot is that flexibility and adaptability remain vital to the academic success of students as they return to class full time.

In Hamblen County, virtual classes will not be an option and students, some of whom haven’t been in an actual classroom since last fall will have to adjust.