Williamson County Schools will start the 2020-21 school year with a half day on Friday, August 7 – but not every student will enter a classroom. Some students will study remotely and others on campus, according to an announcement by Superintendent Jason Golden on July 23.
“We’re concerned that, with our current numbers, returning all students to campus on August 7 where we know we can’t be socially distanced will place a burden on our students, on our staff and on the health department and others…We decided the wisest course for our students, faculty and staff is to apply our medium protocol school opening plan,” stated Golden.
Under the medium protocol plan, students enrolled in Early childhood, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, first and second grade will start school on campus with improved social distancing for the first two weeks.
Students in grades 3-12 will be learning remotely for the first two weeks with the first day spent entirely on communication. Teachers will spend each class period in a Zoom session with students explaining amount of time they should expect on Zoom, how to access instructional content, how to submit assignments and how to get help when needed. Attendance will be taken during Remote Learning.
WCS will also offer the WCS online program which also starts on August 7. Course offerings in WCS Online program will be based on student interest, course availability and teacher availability.
The three options for learning allow parents to decide what works best for their child.
The traditional learning path, initially offered for younger students, places them in the classroom with a teacher delivering lessons on a daily basis.
With remote learning, teachers will provide classroom instruction via live Zoom sessions on a daily basis Monday through Thursday.
The WCS online program will allow instruction to be delivered to students through prerecorded videos or screencast on a weekly basis with additional live Zoom sessions available.
Golden also advised all students in grades K-12 whether studying on campus, remote or with the WCS online program will receive a Chromebook. Parents should hear from their principal by Friday, July 31 about a pick-up schedule for their child’s Chromebook.
The decision was reached after working with the Williamson County Health Department and the Williamson County Emergency Management Agency on active case trends. According to the health department, Williamson County had 1,435 active cases as of Monday, July 27 with 21 reported deaths in the county since the pandemic began in March.
As part of the recommended safety and health guidelines, all staff and students reporting to campus on August 7 must wear a cloth face covering or disposable face mask unless they are eating, drinking or maintaining recommended social distancing as determined by the staff. There are also allowable exemptions for special circumstances.
WCS will continue to study the COVID-19 situation across the county and track trends associated with the new active cases to determine what learning options will be best suited with students, faculty and staff after the first two weeks of school.
For more information on WCS reopening, parents should visit www.wcs.edu.