Weakley County Schools Delay Opening

At the board meeting for Weakley County Schools on Monday night, the reopening of district schools was pushed back to August 17, allowing for more time for the arrival of ordered but hard-to-come-by resources. The board also approved a plan to provide traditional in-person
and in-class instruction with social distancing and other precautions in place. A Remote Learning option
in case of a future school closure due to COVID-19 was also agreed upon as well as a Monitored Distance
Education plan for students whose health or family circumstances prevent returning to the classroom.
“Planning for ongoing high quality learning engagement during a time of a pandemic is difficult,” noted
WCS Director of Schools Randy Frazier. “When information and guidance changes so frequently, we will
be making decisions that are correct one day and wrong the next. We have proposed a plan we believe
places the safety and health of our students and staff as a priority. But we need everyone to understand
the plan is fluid and will be adjusted. We will be depending on the community’s cooperation and
patience.”
A discussion of the latest active cases in the County as well as the training that will be needed to ensure
a seamless move into Remote Learning, should that option be required, led the board to shift the
scheduled August 3 opening day to August 17.
“I can’t in good faith or clear conscience vote for a return to our schools without resources for all the
safety measures in place,” said Board Chair Steve Vantrease before voting in favor of the change to
August 17.
The 12-page reopening document approved by the Board included adjustments for health and safety as
related to operations, protocols for if a student or staff member contracts COVID-19, an overview of
steps the transportation and nutrition staffs will take to adhere to state and national guidance, and a
summary of the academic plans for returning to campuses, remote learning in the event of school
closures, and a Monitored Distance Education approach that will allow for children whose health
conditions or family circumstances prevent a return to school.
Monitored Distance Education will be a semester-long commitment and applications will be available
from school principals.
“We want to make a distinction between our Monitored Distance Education and ‘home schooling,’”
Frazier recently told a group of administrators and staff gathered to finalize the document that was
approved. “Home school-ers are using a curriculum other than that of the Weakley County Schools
system and parents are responsible for grading, reporting to the state, etc. Students who use our MDE
option will still be Weakley County Schools’ students. An assigned teacher will be checking attendance

and grading their work. We just won’t be able to offer them the individualized attention they would
receive in a classroom.”
Attention in the Remote Learning option will be provided as teachers move from in-class interactions to
phone calls, Zoom meetings, and Google Classroom. Teachers in pre-K through 5 th grade will be using
tool kits with daily lessons and assignments. Teachers in 6 th through 12 th grades will be relying on Google
Classroom. They will also have regular office hours so that students can contact them outside of the
regularly scheduled teacher/student meetings online.
Frazier told the board that at the August 6 board meeting he will bring suggested calendar changes
needed to accommodate the later opening.
To read or download a copy of the Weakley County Schools Reopening 2020-21 document, go to
www.weakleyschools.com. An overview of the plan and Frequently Asked Questions are also available
online.

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