Knox County Schools’ move to virtual learning has ripple effect for other organizations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Schools’ announcement that all of its district schools would shift to online learning next week is causing a ripple effect of both closures/suspension of activities for related organizations as well as the expansion of other groups in order to help out.

Knox County Schools announced Wednesday evening that all of its district schools would shift to online learning beginning Monday, Dec. 14, with an anticipated return date for in-person classes on Jan. 5, 2021. The region’s largest school district had been offering both in-person and online instruction since the start of the academic year in late August. All 62,000 of its students were issued Chromebooks at the start of the year as well with added online and virtual instruction how-tos for students.

Knox County Schools superintendent Bob Thomas stated in a letter to families Wednesday that as the district approached its winter break, it became increasingly difficult to continue offering in-person instruction.

“With COVID-19 cases rising in our community, we have seen a corresponding rise in the number of students and employees who are required to quarantine. As the holidays get closer, it has become challenging to find substitute teachers for our classrooms.”

Bob Thomas, superintendent, Knox County Schools

School sports and extracurricular activities were also canceled through Jan. 5.

Meals, however, will continue at the request of parents and families. To receive meals during the closure, families can complete the meal request form at www.knoxschools.org/mealsrequest.

Following the announcement, the Knox County government said its Parks & Recreation department was suspending basketball activities due to Knox County Schools going virtual.

Apart from the suspension and closure of some related activities due to Knox County Schools’ shift to all-online learning for students, there has been plans for expansion at other organizations in order to help students.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, which serves children in Knox, Blount, North Anderson and Loudon counties, has offered a virtual learning club for some time for grades K-8 and leaders recently stated that should Knox County Schools go Red district-wide, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley will be open at all of its Knox County sites, including community schools for virtual learning, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m. Morning snacks and lunches are provided.

Boys & Girls Clubs will also be accepting new registrants for this. Parents should call 865-232-1117 for more information.

There are likely to be more ripple effects in the coming days and we will be sure to update with the latest information.

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