Knox County leaders sign letter to Gov. Lee on virtual education guidelines

Knox County leaders sent the letter to Gov. Bill Lee asking for changes to how virtual learning is implemented.
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2021 at 12:13 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County leaders, including the entire Board of Education, school Superintendent Bob Thomas and Mayor Glenn Jacobs, signed an open letter to Gov. Lee asking him to reevaluate virtual learning guidelines.

In the letter, the Knox County officials asked the governor to change how schools that move to virtual learning treat extra-curricular activities. Under the current virtual learning guidelines, schools that move to virtual learning suspend in-person extra-curricular activities, including sports. The Knox County leaders asked that guidelines be changed so that schools that move to online learning can still host extra-curricular events.

The letter argued that the activities help students with mental health issues. “Participation in extra-curricular activates is optional, healthy, and keeps our students off the streets and involved in school,” the letter said.

The school district saw 277 active student cases of COVID-19 and 54 active staff cases as of Wednesday, according to the district’s COVID-19 tracking dashboard. The Board of Education voted to not implement a mask mandate in a narrow vote in early September after hours of public forum arguing both for and against the mandate.

Two Knox County schools, Austin-East Magnet High School and Central High School started virtual learning Wednesday.

The letter can be read in full here:

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