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WCS secondary schools to remain remote week after Thanksgiving break

Independence, Renaissance to begin hybrid pilot as elementary returns to campus

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WCS student remote learning on laptop

A Williamson County Schools student learns remotely from home during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Williamson County Schools announced Friday that all high school and middle school students will learn remotely for the week following Thanksgiving break while elementary students tentatively return to campus.

WCS Communications Director Carol Birdsong sent an email out to families on Friday, sharing that the health department recommended a transition to remote learning after Thanksgiving break due to recent trends and COVID-19 case numbers.

The district decided to allow elementary schools to return to campus, while of course monitoring case numbers daily, and while most high schools and all middle schools will remain remote, Independence and Renaissance high schools will start a hybrid pilot, where different student groups will take turns on campus and in remote learning.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 1,512 active cases in the county as of Thursday afternoon, representing over 0.6% of the county's population. Additionally, WCS reported 249 students and staff in isolation due to a positive test and 2,573 students and staff in quarantine due to exposure as of Monday. WCS reports its numbers weekly on Tuesdays.

This week, 24 of the district's 49 schools had all or some of its students transition to remote learning. WCS Superintendent Jason Golden has recently expressed concern about the return from Thanksgiving break, saying the district saw an increase in cases following fall break and Halloween.

"WCS student/staff cases increased by 50 percent in the weeks following  Halloween," Birdsong wrote in the email to families. "Our concern is that we will see the same kind of trend the week after Thanksgiving."

Birdsong told families of elementary students to expect further communication from their principals before Monday, Nov. 30, concerning the return to campus.

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