July 24, 2020
Elizabethton City School System made the decision today to change the school re-opening plan for the 2020-2021 school year. We firmly believe there is no substitute for the face to face learning that takes place in the classrooms of ECS and are committed to safely reopening. That being said, infection rates have continued to rise in our community over the last two weeks. The data from the Epi Curve metric, which gauges the average number of new cases per 100,000 county residents for the last 14 days and which the ECS Re-entry Plan uses to inform decisions as it pertains to school opening status, has continued to trend upward. As we have said, this metric is only one piece of data we will use throughout the school year to assist us in making decisions. After considering this data and consulting with officials from both the Carter County and Regional Health Departments, we feel it is necessary to make the following modifications to the start of 2020-2021 school year. Adjusting the calendar will allow time for the implementation of community safety measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. Social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand washing continue to be the most effective measures we can take to reduce infection rates.
Wednesday, August 5th, the scheduled first half day for students will be changed to a teacher workday. We will begin with a staggered student re-entry plan. This plan will divide our student body alphabetically. All students, including those who choose the Distance Learning Track, will be invited to attend. This will allow for students to meet teachers, pick up materials, and receive technical training on Partners for Digital, our online curriculum platform, as well as Google Classroom, while maintaining appropriate social distancing measures. Please view the Elizabethton City Schools website www.ecschools.net for the staggered re-entry starting Monday, August 10th through Friday, August 14th. Based on discussions with health and school officials, a determination will be made on how to proceed with instruction beginning Monday, August 17th.
Implementing these changes gives us the best opportunity to safely re-open for Traditional Learning Track students. It will allow us time to evaluate the effectiveness of our community’s virus mitigation efforts. Moving forward, we will meet every Thursday with health department officials to discuss the impact of the virus on our community and how that impacts our schools. We will rely heavily on the health department’s analysis of community data when making decisions. If you have more questions or concerns, please contact your child’s school. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.
Richard VanHuss, Director of Schools