Local Coronavirus Info: (UPDATED 7/5/20 7:00 pm)
From Dr. Jeff Perry, superintendent of school,
1. School Starts July 31
It is our belief that the majority of our parents have the desire, and many have the need, for the school district to operate on a normal schedule, if possible. School will start on July 31, and we will follow the calendar as adopted by the Board of Education. Future health conditions may require us to modify this calendar, but for now, we will follow the adopted calendar. We encourage everyone to consider only refundable deposits on vacation plans because traditional school breaks (fall break, winter break, spring break, etc.) may need to be altered to make up for missed days.
2. Virtual Learning Options
We fully understand that some parents will have reservations about sending their children to school at this point. The school district will offer an on-line virtual learning option for children to remain enrolled in the Hamblen County School system without physically attending school. This option is available for all Hamblen County residents, and there will be no fees associated with this program. We will not require a doctor’s note to participate on-line. All on-line assignments will be mandatory and will be graded. It is important to note that all children living in Hamblen County are eligible for this on-line instruction. Parents who have elected to home-school or enrolled in other on-line programs are welcome to participate in our on-line learning options. We strongly encourage all parents to consider our on-line program if they are thinking about not physically attending school.
3. School-Issued Computers
We understand that health conditions may require us to close schools in the future and that we must have a strong virtual learning program to continue the instructional program. Currently the district provides a computer to all high school students. In addition, we are using a substantial portion of the CARES Act money (part of the federal stimulus package) to purchase computers for all students in grades three through eight who do not have a computer at home. There will be a $50 usage/repair fee for each computer issued. If multiple students live in a home, all high school students will receive a computer. Only one other computer will be issued to other non-high school siblings within the home. This means that elementary and middle school children within a home may be required to share a school-issued computer.
4. Internet Connection
We understand that having a computer will be of little value to students if there is not internet connection within the home. We are purchasing 500 mobile hotspots which can be utilized within the home to complete school assignments. We will not have sufficient hotspots for all families without internet connections, but we will be able to help provide connectivity to some families. We are also creating free Wi-Fi environments in all school parking lots for family access to those who can travel. In addition, we are working with other vendors and organizations to provide free Wi-Fi to some of our low-socioeconomic and densely populated areas of the county.
5. Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities
Children will be eligible for all extra-curricular activities regardless if they are enrolled on-line or physically attending school. Clearly there would be some concern about a child participating on-line because of safety concerns but still wanting to engage in extra-curricular events. However, there could be situations where this would be appropriate. Regardless, students would be eligible if they meet all attendance and academic requirements. This would include all students in elementary, middle, and high school.
6. Participation in Individual Classes
There may be situations in which on-line students may want to participate in specific classes within the school. It may be difficult for us to duplicate certain classes on-line. It may be possible for us to create safer conditions within certain classes and students could possibly complete some courses on-line and other classes within the school. For example, we may have some of our career/technical classes which require hands-on work and are not as appropriate for on-line instruction. In addition, some of these classrooms have more space for students to social distance. This situation could allow a student to do most of his or her work on-line but attend school for specific classes. Building level principals will work individually with parents and students on this issue to determine if this is possible.
7. College Classes
Students will continue to have the option of participating in college classes as they have done in the past. Individual colleges and universities will establish their own protocols and instructional delivery modes which we will share as they make those decisions.
8. PK–2 Classes
We will create an on-line option for all grade levels, but we possess the firm belief it would be extremely difficult to provide quality instruction to students in PK–2 through this format. Teaching reading, writing, and math at this level requires a significant amount of personal interaction between the student and teacher. We strongly encourage students in these grades to attend school if possible. We will work with these grade levels to help reduce numbers, to increase social distancing, and to increase safety procedures to allow students to attend in person.
9. Special Education Services
We have been unable to provide many of our special education students with related services such as speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc., during the closure. It is our plan to resume these services at the beginning of the school year as dictated by the child’s IEP. We understand that some of our students with identified needs are medically fragile and are unable to attend school or participate in therapy. That is not a problem. We will work with parents and provide the level of support that is appropriate.
It is our intent to provide transportation at normal levels next year. At this point, there are a number of different suggestions and recommendations on social distancing on school buses. Clearly some of those more rigid recommendations are not practical, and we would be unable to comply with all suggestions. However, we will provide transportation, and parents can make the decision to ride the bus, bring their children to school, or participate on-line.
11. Health Procedures
It is clear we will need to focus on creating and implementing a wide range of changes to our school day to improve health conditions. We will increase our cleaning schedules, work with students on maintaining individual health practices, create social distancing as much as possible, provide multiple opportunities to wash hands, take temperatures, send staff/students home who are sick, and monitor basic health conditions. We are still working on the specifics of our plan and will continue to monitor health conditions which will have an impact on how we deal with certain practices. We will decide on wearing masks, how many students in one room, lunch protocols, etc., as we get closer to the start of school.
12. School Meals
It is our intent to provide school breakfast and lunch as we did last year. We will make a number of changes to our current food service program to comply with health recommendations to ensure we serve food in a safe manner, but we will continue with the food service program next year. We will provide the details of our changes as we get closer to the start of school.
13. Purchase Own Computer
We are attempting to purchase computers for each family to use if we were closed due to the virus. However, parents may want to consider purchasing a computer for their family, if possible. We fully understand that many of our parents are struggling financially right now and making this type of purchase is not feasible. Having access to on-line instruction may become a necessity in the future, and it may be a great idea to invest in a computer, if possible. The school district has a license for the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Publisher) for every students in the district. You can download these programs for free with the appropriate directions. In addition, our computer vendor is allowing parents to purchase the same computers we buy at our cost. Please contact Mrs. Webb at the central office if are interested in purchasing one of these computers.
14. On-Line Platform
We will use Google Classroom to provide instruction PK-8. We will use Schoology (which is the current program we are using) for high school. We will provide training for parents and students to use this program soon. The program is relatively simple to use, but there are several components which must be configured before it can be fully utilized. We know that some of our parents will be able to access the program without any problems, while others will struggle. We are in this together, and we will help you gain the necessary skills to assist your child in the learning process.
The school district will send out a survey soon to collect specific information from parents. The data from this survey will be used to help us effectively plan for next year. Please take the time to complete this survey. We understand that a number of factors may change your thought process as we move through this journey, but we need to have some idea of what parents are going to do now so we can plan.
16. Extended School Program
We understand that many parents will need child care if we are forced to close school. It is our intent to keep the extended school program open for parents needing daycare to accommodate work schedules.
17. Parent Training
We will create a series of workshops designed to help parents effectively use our on-line programs. Please take advantage of these workshops when presented to ensure you have the necessary skills to be successful. We will contact you soon about dates and times.
Although we will face a number of challenges this year – we are committed to making this the best school year ever. We will not enter into this school year with a defeatist attitude or lower expectations. We understand things must be different, but this does not mean it has to be less. We will expect great things from our staff and students.
We possess the firm belief that public school education has always been the great equalizer in this nation. All children have a chance if they receive a quality education. This education can be an advanced college degree or it can be a career and technical certification but students need that education. It matters not to us if that child comes from one of our most affluent families or if they come from abject poverty – we will take care of every child under our care. We are all in this together and we will stand with you throughout this process. We will continue to provide updates throughout the summer. Please contact us if you have any questions.
– (4/15): Governor Lee announces extensive Covid-19 testing. Read Here.
Free COVID-19 testing will be available for any Tennessean, regardless of traditional symptoms, as our Unified-Command Group ramps up an aggressive effort to expand statewide testing capacity.
When in doubt, get a test. Read more: bit.ly/3boiMuF
Additional resources from the Tennessee Department of Health:
– Drive-Through Testing Sites: bit.ly/34CG9Oc
– Testing Guidance: bit.ly/2VyhYfM
– Positive Test Guidance: bit.ly/2wHM7AV
– Negative Test Guidance: bit.ly/34EmIVd
– (4/15): Governor Lee recommends that schools remain closed the remainder of the school year.
– (4/15): From the Hamblen County Department of Education:
As per Gov. Bill Lee’s recommendation, Hamblen County Schools will be closed for the remainder of the academic year. Superintendent Dr. Jeff Perry said announcements will be made about specific end-of-year logistical issues will be made as soon as possible.
(4/21) FROM THE HAMBLEN COUNTY DEPT. OF EDUCATION:
Graduation dates for Class of 2020 announced:
We have received more questions and concerns about high school graduation than any other single issue, said Dr. Jeff Perry, superintendent of schools. “We have consistently stated that we would have some type of graduation experience for our students and parents, if possible.”
“This process is not an easy one to implement because it requires a significant amount of planning. In order to increase the likelihood we can actually bring several people together in one location, we have moved the graduation date as late into the summer as possible without conflicting with most college start dates,” he said.
The graduation ceremony for WEST HIGH will be held Thursday, July 23, at 8:00 p.m. at Burke-Toney Stadium.
This will allow us to maintain appropriate distancing among parents, family, and friends in the stands. We will conduct the ceremony at the Walters State Community College Gymnasium if it rains. We chose the stadium as our first location because it will allow us the opportunity to invite more guests to the program.
The graduation ceremony for EAST HIGH School will be Friday, July 24, at 8:00 p.m. at Burke-Toney Stadium. We will move the ceremony to the East High School Gymnasium if it rains.
Hamblen County Schools has a second individual connected to the ESP program at Hillcrest test positive for Covid-19. That staff member is doing well. Dr. Perry also encourages anyone who has been involved with the program to get tested for Covid-19 at the Hamblen County Health Department. These people also are to self-isolate for 14 days after April 9, or until the test results come back.
HCBOE recommends you self-isolate for 14 days from the last day of attendance at ESP. If you or your child exhibits symptoms, or if you are concerned, you should be tested.
The Health Department will give Corona Virus tests at the department’s facility on W. Main Street. The hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m.
Call first 586-6431, and choose zero.
The Health Department will give Corona Virus tests at the department’s facility on W. Main Street. The hours are 9 a.m. to noon. They also will be open Saturday. Beginning Monday, the hours are 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Call first 586-6431, and choose zero.
FROM THE CITY OF MORRISTOWN:
The City mourns the loss of Chaplain Don Crider who passed away today. Don, whose call sign was Chaplain 5, was a devoted servant to the community for almost 20 years with the Morristown Police Department. He received his police chaplain certification through the International Conference of Police Chaplains. Chaplain Crider was very dedicated to the officers of the MPD and their families. He rode alongside the officers, participated in devotion services and even performed wedding ceremonies during his time with us. MPD Chief Roger Overholt stated, “Don’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. His presence at the department and the service that he provided will be greatly missed. Don was a comforting presence within our ranks and was always ready to give encouragement to everyone. He truly had the heart of a servant”.
- All Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center events until May 1, 2020 have been cancelled.
- TN STATE PARKS CLOSED: In support of Governor Lee’s Executive Order 23, we have made the difficult decision to close Tennessee State Parks (INCLUDING PANTHER CREEK STATE PARK IN HAMBLEN COUNTY). This closure will be in place tfn. This is a complete closure of trails, facilities, and access to all Tennessee State Parks and Designated State Natural Areas.
Governor Bill Lee Orders Tennesseans to stay home: “Over the last few weeks, we have seen decreases in movement around the state as Tennesseans socially distance and stay at home,” said Gov. Lee. “However, in recent days we have seen data indicating that movement may be increasing and we must get these numbers trending back down. I have updated my previous executive order to clearly require that Tennesseans stay at home unless they are carrying out essential activities.”
Hamblen County Education Department will not be able to continue running bus routes with breakfast and lunch after March 30, due to the Governor’s statement to stay home. Dr. Superintendent Jeff Perry said the following schools will remain open for food collection: West High, Fairview-Marguerite, Manley, Hillcrest and Russellville.
UPDATE: Although we can’t continue to run all bus routes due to the Governor’s statement, we will go to 17 stops to bring breakfast and lunches to students under the age of 18 Stops and schedule are down. Also, we’ll have meals to pick up at the following schools: West High, Fairview-Marguerite, Manley Intermediate, Hillcrest, and Russellville Intermediate.
Greeneville Police Department Officers have been proudly assisting the Greeneville City Schools meal program since it began. The program is now being expanded to provide breakfast and lunch for every child in Greeneville. Enough meals to cover seven days per week for all children under age 19. Pickup locations are at Greeneville High School and Hal Henard Elementary. No paperwork required. Pickup times are Monday’s, Tuesday’s, and Thursday’s from 10am – 12:30pm. Delivery options are available to those without transportation by calling 423-787-8019.
From Bill Brittain, Hamblen County Mayor (Mar 31):
The Hamblen County Courthouse and Justice Center will be closed starting Wednesday, April 1st to follow the Tennessee governor’s guidelines of only essential employees working for the next two weeks. Anyone needing services with the county government should call the appropriate departments to determine if service is available by phone or online. The closure will remain in effect until April 15. See video below:
TN DEPT OF EDUCATION PARTNERS WITH PBS TO PROVIDE CONTENT:
https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html State of TN Covid-19
https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html Track the number of cases in Tennessee
https://myutk.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/a4614b1566f44f559d9c5995ebe9c49d TN case tracker provided by UTK
https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (how many hospital beds, projected need for ventilators, etc)
https://www.jobs4tn.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx TN Unemployment Info
https://www.facebook.com/TNDeptofHealth/ TN Dept. of Health
https://www.coronavirus.gov/ Federal Government, CDC’s Covid-19
https://www.facebook.com/CityofMorristown/ City of Morristown’s Facebook
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/ OSHA Covid-19 info
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know?fbclid=IwAR1ocIBbmu8ViSfyVHBF8KPrRk1HNnJW_UQbqlmVM5vrTIIxoj06Oiplozg Federal Economic impact payments: What you need to know
BUSINESS STATUSES DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK:
[Note: This is a very fluid situation. This list is not meant to be comprehensive. Before visiting any location, it is smart to call first.]
– WAL-MART OPEN 7AM TIL 8:30PM TFN
– INGLES MARKETS OPEN 6AM TIL 10PM TFN
– FOOD CITY-OPEN 7AM TIL 10PM AND ADULTS 65 AND OVER INVITED TO COME BETWEEN 7 AND 8 TO AVOID STORE CONGESTION
– ALDI’S IN MORRISTOWN CLOSING AN HOUR EARLY WILL CLOSE AT 7PM TFN
– COLLEGE SQUARE MALL CLOSED EFFECTIVE 3/20/20
– MOST DOLLAR GENERAL STORES ARE CLOSING AN HOUR EARLY AN OPENING HOUR WILL BE DESIGNATED FOR SENIOR SHOPPING
-CENTER FOR WELLNESS BY APPT ONLY & CURBSIDE PICKUP FOR REFILLS
-MORRISTOWN PARKS AND RECREATION EASTER EGGSELLENT ADVENTURE APRIL 7TH CANCELLED
-PLANET FITNESS MORRISTOWN CLOSED BUT OFFERING ONLINE WORKOUTS ON FACEBOOK
-ALPS ADULT DAY SERVICES SERVICES SUSPENDED TFN
-JEFFERSON COCKE UTILITY DISTRICT DRIVE THROUGH ONLY
-CHARTER SPECTRUM IN MORRISOTWN OPEN 10AM TIL 6PM
STAYING HEALTHY AND SLOWING THE VIRUS’ SPREAD:
- CDC SUGGEST GATHERINGS OF 10 OR LESS.
- WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN AND DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
- AVOID SHAKING HANDS
- KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHERS
- ELDERLY ENCOURAGED TO STAY INDOORS
- IF POSSIBLE WORK FROM HOME.
- IF YOU ARE SICK, STAY HOME, AND CALL THE DOCTOR!
SCHOOLS (NOTE: On March 24th, Governor Bill Lee called for schools in Tennessee to be closed until April 24th due to the coronavirus outbreak.
-Project Graduation in Hamblen County has been cancelled.
-Hamblen County closed through until April 24th (ESP childcare program and the feeding program will continue)
-Hawkins County closed through April 24th
-Grainger County closed through April 24th
-Claiborne County closed through April 24th
-Jefferson County closed through April 24th
-Cocke County closed through April 24th
-Cornerstone Academy closed through April 24th
-Lakeway Christian Academy closed through April 24th
-Sevier County closed through April 24th
-Hancock County closed through April 24th
-Greene County closed through April 24th
-Greeneville City closed through April 24th
-Rogersville City closed through April 24th
-TCAT Morristown – offsite training
-University of Tennessee classes online
-WSCC classes online
-Newport Grammar closed through April 24th
-Carson Newman and Tusculum University online only
FROM THE CITY OF MORRISTOWN:
Are you or a loved one in need of basic supplies, food or medicine and are unable to leave your home due to medical concerns? Volunteers with the local task force are offering delivery services to help those in need. If you are in the at-risk population that is unable to leave their homes during this time and have no other means to receive the items you need, please contact Kelly Smith at (423) 586-1668 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to 104.7 WLNQ for on air updates on further school, business and event cancellations, postponements, delays or hour changes.