Planning for the reopening of school, focusing on both safety and learning, is extremely challenging as pandemic conditions change, as science and opinions about proper actions vary, and as local, state, and federal guidance continue to shift. We understand the multitude of family concerns about our plans and are working daily to find the best ways to get students involved in daily teaching and learning once again and to help our families get back to work and important routines. To develop these plans, Alcoa City Schools has obtained feedback from our parents, and has consulted local health officials, state guidance, and national organizations’ recommendations (such as the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics).
These pages will be updated with new information on an ongoing basis. Please note now, however, that face coverings for staff will now be required in common areas, large gatherings, class changes, anytime outside their classrooms, and in the classroom when social distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained. Face coverings for students will be expected in grades 6-12 and highly encouraged in grades PreK-5.
Please explore the links on this page for different areas of concern. Three links to note:
Para traducir texto en esta página, use la opción de traducción en la parte inferior derecha de esta página. Traducciones adicionales están en el menú de enlaces a la derecha. Para ver los protocolos de gestión COVID-19, haga clic aquí.
Please access the navigational links on this site to access specific information related to our re-opening procedures for the 2020-21 academic school year.
WRITTEN UPDATE 8/18
I wanted to update you with the latest decision regarding our school schedule. I have always said that I would watch the case numbers in Blount County and make decisions as they increase or decrease. Unfortunately for us, the Blount County numbers are still not great but FORTUNATELY for us, they have been decreasing consistently for the last week and a half. At this point, we would like to try and get some more kids in classrooms for a couple of days a week. So, beginning Monday, August 24th we will start on the schedule below.
Groups would be divided A-K and L-Z
On Monday and Wednesday students with the last name beginning A- K will attend. On Tuesday and Thursday students with the last name beginning, L-Z will attend. Friday will be a digital workday for both groups. The elementary school K-2 will be doing something a little different and parents will be contacted by the child's teacher.
WRITTEN UPDATE 7/24
Parents and Guardians,
Another great day with a new set of students! Just a reminder that students who are working virtually can still receive school lunches. Please contact your child’s school for details.
COVID 19 Update: We have had an individual test positive at our middle school. Contact tracing has been completed and anyone who has been in close contact with this person will be notified by phone messaging system and email within the next 24 hours. If you are notified, your child will need to quarantine for 14 days unless you produce a doctor's note or negative test result saying you can come back sooner. While quarantining your child may not attend school or any school activities. However, they should continue working digitally in order to be counted present.
If you do not receive a call or email in the next 24 hours, this means your child was not in direct contact with the individual.
We will continue to update you daily and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Thank you, have a wonderful weekend and GO TORNADOES!
WRITTEN UPDATE 7/15
Parents and Guardians,
Please make sure to go onto skyward and update your information. This is very important so we have all of your correct information. Also, please make sure to fill out the foodservice application. We will be providing lunches to our students in school as well as offering them to students who are virtual or digital. Please talk to your child’s school for this information.
Today was the first day back for our teachers and staff and the day was full of excitement. Excitement to see each other again. Excitement to begin planning for the students that they miss so much and a burst of energy to begin planning for a much different start to a school year.
There is still so much uncertainty about how to start school and follow the CDC guidelines as much as possible. For this reason, and after much consideration, Alcoa City Schools has made the decision to continue a staggered schedule through September 7th which is Labor Day. For some, this may seem like an extreme measure. However, having fewer students each day allows for us to social distance on buses, in classrooms, during lunch, and in hallways. It also allows us to monitor students and staff for illness and to keep high touch areas as clean as possible. Please understand that this decision was not made lightly. We want all of our students back together face to face as soon as it’s possible but we want to do everything carefully and cautiously to ensure we can keep everyone safe and healthy.
While there will only be a group of students each day, all others will be working digitally on the days they are not physically in the building. Teachers will be explaining this to students as they return.
As students begin returning next week please keep in mind that if your child is in grades K-5 and will be riding a bus, there will need to be a parent with them at the bus stop. We will be taking temperatures and no one, staff or student, will be allowed on the bus or in the building with a temperature of 100.4 or greater.
I appreciate your help as we continue to muddle through this unknown territory. We will update you as we get new information and please continue to visit our website for information about our reopening plan and protocols to manage COVID 19. As always, we are looking forward to having your children back and can’t wait to see their faces next week. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you, have a wonderful afternoon and Go Tornadoes!
Director, Alcoa City Schools
WRITTEN UPDATED 7/9
Parents and Guardians,
As things continue to change we continue to adjust our protocols to ensure that we are taking every precaution in order to reopen schools safely in the coming weeks. Using the guidance of the state and local health officials we have made a couple of changes. The first is our mask policy. We are now saying that in grades 6-12 face masks are strongly encouraged and expected for students when in close proximity to other students or staff. Examples of this are during transition times, group work, or times when there are gatherings of students. While this will not be part of our dress code policy, teachers and administrators will be prompting and reminding students when appropriate. Teachers in grades K-5 will work to keep students in small cohorts and as distanced as possible. However, these students are encouraged to wear face masks on buses and during times where they will be around large groups such as transition times. For any student or staff who needs a mask one will be provided.
It’s a very unsettling time for all of us, but rest assured that we continue to monitor what plan will work best for our students and staff. With this in mind, our second change is adding an extra week to our staggered schedule. So the first 10 days of school will be staggered for our students system wide. It will look like this:
- July 22nd, 29th A-C
- July 23rd, 30th D-H
- July 24th, 31st I-P
- July 27th, August 3rd Q-S
- July 28th, August 4th T-Z
By adding an extra week it gives students and staff more time to acclimate to our safety protocols and allows us to do this with small class sizes. Now, and after we return, we will continue to monitor the situation within our schools, county and state to drive our decisions.
Please note that this staggered schedule is different from that of the Pre K and Kindergarten stagger days. Please contact the elementary school if you have any questions about your pre k or kindergarten staggered schedule.
Just a reminder that we will offer bus services as normal but encourage you to transport your child to school if possible in order to keep numbers down on our buses. If your child is in grades K-5 you must be at the bus stop with your child in the event that they have a temperature and must return home. If your child is in grade 6-12 you do not have to be at the bus stop with your child IF you are comfortable with your child returning home alone in the event they have a temperature.
I’d like to remind you to visit our district website to look at educational options for your child. The deadline for choosing our Virtual Learning Academy is July 10th. You will also find our COVID 19 management protocols here. If you have any questions please contact your child’s respective school. Times are tough, but we will get through this together. Please let us know if you have any questions and do not hesitate to contact us. We appreciate you and look forward to being back together in the next couple of weeks. Thank you, have a wonderful afternoon and Go Tornadoes!
Director, Alcoa City Schools
WRITTEN UPDATE 6/26
Guardians and Students,
With the 2020-21 school year fast approaching I wanted to reassure you that we have a team of educators working to create a reentry plan that is in compliance with the state guidelines and will be in the best interest of our students, families, and faculty members. Because information from the Tennessee State Department of Education frequently updates and changes, we have been hesitant to release our own guidelines until closer to the school year. However, we do believe it is necessary to send out the final guidelines with enough time so that families can make the best decisions for their students and to prepare them for the upcoming year. That is why on July 1st we will release a Family Guide to our students, parents, and guardians that states the outline and expectations for virtual learning. We will also release the extra precautions that will be taken by each school to help reduce the spread of the virus. Once released on July 1st, parents will then fill out an individual form for their student(s) if they wish to begin the school year in a virtual learning format and submit them to the district by July 10th. This will allow the schools enough time to prepare for those students as well.
Just a couple of reminders and thoughts as you make plans for your child to return to school:
Please know that although we are offering a digital option for those students who have underlying health issues or varying immune deficiencies, we would encourage all students who can, to choose the traditional school option and return to school as normal with the extra safety precautions in place.
Also, though we will still be providing bus service, you are strongly encouraged to transport your child to school if possible. We will be taking temperatures of students before they get on the bus, so for this reason it is mandatory that an adult be with each child at the bus stop. We appreciate your help with this.
Also, a reminder that masks will be encouraged for staff and students but not required.
There is no doubt we find ourselves in challenging times. We definitely see a need for change in our country. Many of our families are hurting right now and because of that we all hurt. We love our students, staff and community deeply and are ready to place our arms around our students and tell them how much we love and support them. Our students need all of us now more than ever during these trying times and all the uncertainty. I have no doubt that as we work together as a community we will survive this crisis and others.
WE ARE ALCOA AND TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!
Director, Alcoa City Schools
WRITTEN UPDATE 6/16
First, let me thank you for your support and understanding as we, as a nation and community, responded to the unexpected invasion of COVID-19 in March. I am very proud of the way our Alcoa Schools students, parents, and staff handled the demands we were faced with to protect everyone as we continued to educate and feed our students during the most unusual of circumstances.
As you know, everyone has concerns and questions related to how our schools plan to reopen on July 22nd. While we are in the business of educating, our first priority is the safety of our students and our employees. Be assured, we have been working diligently on our Alcoa Schools 2020-2021 restart plans. Due to all the factors and information needed to plan as COVID-19 issues unfold, we are continuing to follow state guidelines and tweak our plan as expectations change. Our desire is to return to school as normal (traditional) with enhanced safety and cleaning procedures. However, we have to be proactive and be prepared during these ever-changing times to continue educating our students if and when circumstances change, as predicted, throughout the year related to the health and safety of our students and employees.
Our recent survey gathered input from parents, employees, and administrators regarding concerns and thoughts about returning or working digitally. So far the results show that at least 90% of survey results are in favor of returning to traditional school. We are working on three scenarios:
- Enhanced Traditional Plan- We would continue school as normal with enhanced safety precautions in place such as taking temperatures of students and staff before entering the school building or bus, increased hand sanitizer availability, increased frequency of cleaning of high touch areas, cleaning/sanitizing desks and table tops between classes, limited visitation inside school buildings by asking parents not to walk inside with students and not allowing outside visitors. Face masks will be allowed but not required. (Again, this is our plan for July pending more guidance from the Governor/State Department.)
- Social Distancing/Hybrid Plan- Hybrid would be a combination of distance and face-to-face instruction with increased safety and disinfecting measures as listed above, which could be done in a variety of configurations. This will be available to students who, at this time, have immune compromised health issues and parents that do not feel comfortable returning at this time.
- Full Distance Learning Plan- All students would participate in the learning of new material, continued standard pacing, interactive lessons, graded assignments, and assessments. This would be enacted if the Governor’s Executive Order closed schools again due to health concerns.
I encourage our parents to frequently visit our webpage and follow our social media for up-to-date and accurate information. Everyone must understand that we cannot please all as we make these decisions. Our priority is to keep everyone safe while not making life more difficult for our parents. Each family situation is uniquely different. We fully understand your varied concerns about health and safety, distance learning, the importance of face-to-face instruction, parents needing to work, the economy, and all of the other unexpected consequences of not being in school or being in school in a traditional method. If for some reason, we cannot be in a traditional school situation, our goal is to find the best way to have our students safely in our buildings as frequently as possible to ensure the health and well-being of all.
*As we move forward, we are also taking into consideration that we have medically compromised students. Parents of students with a higher risk of severe illness can contact their school administration to discuss options.
*In July, school administrators will finalize plans with parents regarding their academic needs for the upcoming school year.
*As we continue the Alcoa Schools 2020-2021 restart planning process, we will keep you updated. Thank you for your continued support and positivity as we strive to do what is best for ALL of our students and employees during these challenging times.
- We will continue to provide bus service.
- We would like to encourage you to transport your child to school if possible. This will assist with the number of students on the same bus for a period of time.
- Because we will be taking temperatures before students get on the bus, it will be mandatory that a parent stay at the bus stop with their child.
- If siblings are riding the same bus, encourage them to sit together.