Distance Learning Days Declared for November 18, 19, and 20, 2020

Statement from Jefferson County, TN Director of Schools, Dr. Shane Johnston:

Urgent information for families in the Jefferson County School system.

I received updated Covid related numbers Thursday evening following last week’s call to families and those numbers were sharply higher than the day before. That trend continued through the weekend as well.

We were encouraged to see a reduction 10 days ago in the students and staff being quarantined. The numbers from October 30 to November 6 dropped from 210 on October 30 to 167 on November 6. However, last week’s number jumped from 167 to 474.

The number of active cases also saw a sharp increase last week. From November 6 to November 13, the number of student and staff active cases jumped from 18 to 47.

Our team has reviewed the information and based on the increase in active cases, the extremely high number of students and staff quarantined throughout the county, and the issues associated with appropriately covering classes and assignments due to employees having to be out as well, Jefferson County Schools will be adding three additional Distance Learning days beginning Wednesday, November 18, 2020.

Tomorrow, Monday, November 16 and Tuesday, November 17 will remain normal school days, but Wednesday, November 18, Thursday, November 19, and Friday, November 20 will be distance learning days for all students in the Jefferson County School System. These are instructional days for students.

Teachers will use tomorrow and Tuesday to prepare students for these distance learning days.

There will be a follow up phone call tomorrow night to provide updated information and specific details about these distance learning days. Our hope that the combination of the distance learning days and the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday break will provide help with our numbers since students will be separated for a period of 12 days.

I am fully aware of the hardship this decision places on families and work schedules. This is a scenario we anticipated in July when we submitted our plan to the state and have worked to prepare for these events. There will be some bumps along the way, but I am confident building level administrators and classroom teachers will provide great support for families.

I will provide an updated call tomorrow night. Thanks for your support and our desire is everyone remains safe and healthy.