Anderson County Schools began welcoming students back Monday on a staggered start.
Thursday will be the first day where all students in grades two and up will be present. Kindergarten and first grade students have additional staggered days.
“Social distancing is a huge emphasis here in our county,” district spokesman Ryan Sutton told Knox News. “We’re making steps and taking steps to make sure that our kids are the safest as possible in their classrooms: arrows on the hallways denoting which direction they go, as well as that social distancing when they arrive and our shields and our different configurations of classrooms. So there’s a lot of differences in our county this year.”
Students must pass a temperature check and students in grades three through 12 are required to wear masks on buses, common areas and in classrooms when distancing is not possible.
Younger students will be required to wear masks on buses and “at other times to the best of their ability,” according to the district’s website.
The school also offered a virtual learning option.
ACS’ plan to have the first three days be staggered is similar with Loudon County Schools, which opened Aug. 7.
Other area schools including Maryville City Schools, Blount County Schools and Oak Ridge Schools opened two weeks ago. While each district has an individualized plan, those three districts opted for a staggered start for the first few weeks of school. All three districts, as well as Alcoa City Schools, have reported positive COVID-19 cases.
Knox County Schools will open on Aug. 24 with an in-person option and a virtual option. The district is considering a partnership with Florida Virtual School, which superintendent Bob Thomas said will help alleviate issues with teacher shortages. The school board will vote on the partnership on Wednesday.