Tullahoma City Schools officials say the transition to the hybrid schooling plan is coming much quicker than they originally planned.

Last week, the school system put out guidance to parents and students about what the hybrid schedule would look like should the need to transition arise.

Currently, 81% of the students in the district returned to their physical school buildings, while 19% of students began the school year at home through the distance learning option, according to Stephens. Should the number of active cases continue climbing into double digits, however, a significant portion of students will return home for distance learning.

Stephens called the active case count of COVID-19 in the county “surprising” in an email to The News Monday morning.

“I think back to June 30th, there were 23 active cases and now (4 and ½ weeks later), there are 234,” she said. “With this steady increase it appears we will be transitioning to the hybrid plan sooner than I would have originally hoped.”

Stephens said the hybrid plan information was given to parents as it became “evident that this transition was quickly becoming a real possibility in the near future,” but that an exact date still unclear.

“While I remain hopeful that these active cases will level off or, better yet, decline, the realist in me recognizes the transition, as soon as I do, communication will be put out to all,” she said.

Regardless of when the transition comes, Stephens said she was glad to open the doors of all seven schools July 29 for the “positive connections and relationships” that had “already been established with our teachers, staff and students.”

Those connections “will continue as we progress through the year,” she said, no matter if the education continues on-site or through virtual learning environments.

“I look forward to a time when this virus is behind us and we can return to school and live life in a manner that is more familiar to us all,” she said.

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.

Staff Writer

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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