University School and the Washington County School System have both announced plans to start the 2020-21 school year virtually.
The Washington County School System, which was set to welcome back students on Aug. 3, will now begin its school year on a virtual schedule due to a rising number of active COVID-19 cases in the county. The schedule is expected to remain in effect for 30 calendar days, but administrators will monitor the infection rate daily. If the rate falls into an acceptable range according to the county’s established reopening plan, adjustments could be made to allow in-person learning to start.
All students grades K-12 can expect to be contacted by their respective schools on Aug. 3 or soon thereafter with further instructions. Parents my immediately contact their children’s schools to discuss any home technology needs. The system can provide a computer on a loan basis to any student that needs one.
Teachers will be at school every day that school is in session to provide learning resources and interact with students virtually. Students should understand a virtual schedule is not a closure – all students will be held accountable for their school work and should set aside time every day equivalent to the time they would spend at school. Attendance verification from each student will be required every school day.
As for University School, remote learning operations are scheduled to remain in effect from Aug. 3, the first day of school, until Sept. 18, the end of the first quarter.
“In recent weeks we have witnessed the trajectory of the COVID-19 virus rise both locally and across the nation,” said Dr. Brian Partin, director of University School. “Our school year launches in just over 10 days, and we do not see this situation drastically improving by that time.
“This has been a very difficult decision but the safety and health of our students, faculty and staff remain our highest priority.”
Partin added that University School has continued to make investments in its online infrastructure and content. University School is located on the ETSU campus. ETSU will open Aug. 24 and plans to offer on-ground and online instruction.