Dr. Jeff Perry, Hamblen County school superintendent, said this week that the school system is working on three different contingency plans for the upcoming school year.
Perry said that there are several unknowns for the future as local, state and federal officials continue to monitor the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is virtually impossible to plan for the school system in August,” he said.
The three scenarios that Perry outlined in a Hamblen County COVID-19 Task Force video this week included the following:
• Reopening of the economy goes well and no resurgence of the virus: In this scenario, the school system will clean more frequently and students will have to observe personal hygiene. Perry said the year would still not be normal, but would be as normal as possible under the circumstances.
• Increase in COVID-19 cases over the next two months: “Under these conditions a normal school year will probably not be possible,” Perry said. The school system may implement a hybrid program with some students and teachers learning online or remotely and small groups of students and teachers at school. During this scenario, it would reduce class size and make learning more manageable.
• Health conditions rapidly deteriorate: This scenario would probably see schools close their doors and would mean 100% online and remote teaching. He said the school system is working on curriculums if this scenario occurs.
Perry said the school system is trying to do what it can for any plan of action that needs to be presented.
“This will not be an easy task,” he said. “It will not be perfect.”
Students are expected to come back to school by July 31. Perry said the school calendar is subject to change this year because school officials cannot at this time make a plan for June when things may change by August.
He said the school system will try to follow the calendar.
“It’s our hope to follow the school calendar, but I know that hope is not always a good plan,” he said.