As COVID-19 cases in Coffee County continue to rise, Tullahoma City Schools officials are preparing parents for the possibility that the school system will transition to the hybrid learning plan set out in the “pathway to re-entry” plan prepared this summer.

According to school officials, though the current spread of active cases of the disease remains in the “minimal” spread category, the district will transition to its “moderate” spread plan should the case numbers reach a 0.5% threshold.

The “moderate” spread category involves “modified scheduling” and “more intensive on-site mitigation strategies.”

Should the district move to the “moderate” spread category, parents will be notified via a phone call and/or email announcement with specific instructions about the transition and when it will take effect. The information will also be available on the district and school websites and social media platforms, as well as the Skyward Family portal.

Parents will be given time to prepare for any changes to the learning model of TCS, according to district officials.

According to the hybrid learning schedule, middle and high school students would transition to full distance learning each weekday. Only elementary-level students would be seen in a physical classroom on staggering days.

Monday would see third, fourth and fifth grades in the classroom, while pre-K, first and second grades and grades six through 12 would be distance learning. Students in the classroom will attend from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday through Friday only students in Pre-K through second grade would be in the classroom. All other grades would be distance learning. Those in the classroom on Wednesday will still experience a 1 p.m. dismissal, according to the district.

Teaching and learning will occur each day with daily instruction, attendance, feedback and grades, just as during a traditional school day.

Students will also still be able to participate in extra-curricular activities in the hybrid model.

Students with a 504, Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Individual Learning Plan (ILP) will all have services provided based on the determination of each student’s team, according to the district.

District officials stressed that the switch to a remote learning schedule will not look like it did in the spring semester during the “emergency shift.” Instead, all students who participate in virtual learning will follow “a defined schedule with live instruction, teacher and classmate interaction and a variety of learning experiences.”

There will be a weekly schedule for all students, a specific location of assignments, daily feedback and the posting of grades. There will also be requirements for attendance, grading and daily interactive instruction. Additionally, TCS will provide both live and independent instruction for students. During the live instruction, teachers will provide “engaging lessons that include all or small groups of students,” which may include lessons via live video conferencing and/or interactive lessons and activities. Teachers will also provide recorded lessons, digital instruction, assignments and/or activities that students can complete independently. These lessons, instructions and assignments will be posted by 8 a.m. each day when applicable, according to the district.

A video of Director of Schools Catherine Stephens explaining the transition information is available here.

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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