The city and county school systems have changed their back-to-school plans for the semester starting Jan. 5 out of precautions for COVID-19.
Rutherford County Schools said students will attend school through asynchronous distance-learning “flex days” on Jan. 5-8. Teachers will provide activities and assignments for students to complete at home on their own schedule on these days.
RCS has published its preliminary plans for additional modifications with a hybrid plan, but those continue to change, said James Evans, communications director. Any updates will be communicated to parents. The final decision is expected to be made by the Board of Education at a 5 p.m. meeting on Jan. 5.
Murfreesboro City Schools Communications Director Lisa Trail said the district will reopen in an A/B Hybrid model based on the first letter of the student’s last name, with some students returning on Jan. 5. Students with different last names but living in the same household will be accommodated.
This hybrid plan will ensure that about half of the students are in a classroom each day, making social distancing easier to maintain.
Group A includes students with last names that begin with A-L. Attendance will be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Students will receive an at-home learning packet on Wednesday to complete Thursday and Friday.
Group B includes students with last names that begin with M-Z. Attendance will be on Thursdays and Fridays. Students will receive a homework packet on Fridays to complete Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week.
For example, in the first week, on Jan. 5-6, Group A will attend in-school learning, while Group B does asynchronous learning online for those days. The two groups switch on Jan. 7-8.
Jan. 11 will be an asynchronous day for all MCS students. The Extended School Program (ESP) will be open for all students on Jan. 4 and Jan. 11. Otherwise, for the first three weeks of school, ESP will be open only for those students attending school that day. ESP will be closed on Jan. 18 (MLK Day).
MCS said it plans to decide by Jan. 20 on what plan to use afterwards.
Under the RCS proposal, students in grades 7-12 would alternate in-person school days with asynchronous distance-learning days.
Students whose last names start with A-L would attend in-person on Jan. 11, and students with last names beginning with M-Z would attend school in-person on Jan. 12. Schools would work with blended families who may have different last names to ensure all household children are in the same group.
The two groups would then alternate in-person instruction every other day, reducing the number of students in a school on any given day.
The preliminary proposal calls for this hybrid system to be in place for four weeks (Jan. 11 through Feb. 5), and it will then be determined whether to continue the hybrid plan for another four weeks based on COVID-19 community data, such as spread rate and positivity rate.