Knox County Education Coalition members concerned for KCS first day
Members of the Knox County Education Coalition said they had hesitations about Knox County Schools students, teachers and staff going back to class next week.
“Education has always been at my heart,” said Jane Skinner, a member of the Coalition.
For more than 20 years Skinner taught science at Farragut High School.
Skinner has since retired and expressed safety concerns about the upcoming school year when we spoke Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m confused,” Skinner exclaimed. “And I know that my teacher friends are confused.”
She advocated for Knox County Schools to measure COVID-19 cases at each school. That way parents, teachers and students can plan if the pandemic worsens.
Candace Bannister also wanted transparency in communication so people know what’s happening in each school district.
“It just seems the more you know the better you can plan,” explained Bannister. ”Teachers don’t sit down all day anyway. This year I’m not sure they’re going to sleep.”
The district’s reopening plan color codes types of learning. The phase the school year is slated for is yellow. That meant virtual and traditional learning options would be available for the fall of 2020. But the plan did not outline if and when students and staff could go to code red, meaning all virtual learning.
School system officials told me over email that they’re making decisions day-to-day based on how the virus spreads in schools, the community and across the state.
“They need to have criteria that says if this happens we’re going to do that. They need to have to have that ahead of time so they’re not just winging it,” said Lance McCold, a member of KCEC.
They hope for clarity during the chaos but recognize teachers’ commitments to students.
”Remember to have an extra dose of patience and two scoops of grace for this year,” said Bannister.
“We’re all in this together,” said Skinner.
Knox County Schools is set to begin on Monday, August 24. The members also said they keep open communication with the Board of Education and Central Office about their thoughts.
Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.