Murfreesboro City Schools will operate under a hybrid plan with younger kids in classes and older kids learning at home unless parents request otherwise, while Rutherford County Schools will continue with most students in classes but having the option to learn at home.

MCS on Tuesday evening declared its change in policy: Pre-K through 2nd grade students will begin in the traditional school setting, while 3rd through 6th grade students will utilize the distance learning model. Additional information regarding the Back to School Plan will be available Wednesday after 2 p.m. The new method is called Plan 2: Hybrid Instruction.

Also on Tuesday evening, the RCS Board of Education voted unanimously to move ahead with a previously approved plan in which most students will be on campus. However, parents have the option of their kids learning online from home for the first semester. Masks are still mandated.

The vote came despite several residents asking to hold all classes online. Other parents and guardians called for in-person classes.

RCS Superintendent Bill Spurlock said only 9,200 had signed up for distance learning, or about 17-18 percent of the student body.

RCS also approved a modified school calendar in which the first week of classes, from Aug. 10-14, will be partial days to allow students and staff to adjust to the situation.

During discussion, officials said Spurlock has the authority to adjust school operations if needed.


Meanwhile, MCS released this information about the hybrid plan:

Grades Pre-k through 2 information:

Students in grades pre-K through 2nd will begin the school year in the traditional classroom setting.

Parents have the option of choosing the choice distance learning model for their Pre-K-2nd grade student(s). A Choice Distance Learning Agreement must be returned to the school by July 31.

Bus routes will be offered for kindergarten through 2nd grade students who attend the traditional school setting.

ESP is available for kindergarten through 2nd grade.

All safety protocols previously outlined in the traditional school setting will remain in place.

Grades 3 through 6 information:

Students in grades 3 through 6, will begin the school year with distance learning.

If a 3rd through 6th grade child needs childcare due to their guardians’ work schedule and/or does not have internet access, they may choose to opt-in to the traditional school setting.

3rd through 6th grade siblings of kindergarten through 2nd grade students will be able to ride the bus if they plan to attend the traditional school setting because of lack of childcare and/or internet access.

Parents with students in grades 3 through 6 who opt-in to the traditional school setting, and do not have a sibling in grades K through 2, must provide transportation to and from school.

If a student needs to arrive at the school before the school day begins and/or stay after the school day ends, ESP is available.

Parents of 3rd through 6th grade students who need to enroll their child in the traditional school setting because of the reasons noted above, must sign the enrollment form located on our website or at your school. Return this form to your school principal by Monday, Aug. 3.

If parents do not have the technology resources at home, you may apply for a Laptop on Loan.

Other MCS information:

Once the school year begins, and unless the school district moves to another instruction plan, all students must remain in the instruction plan they start until the end of a nine-week grading period.

Special transportation will be provided to students in accordance with a student’s IEP.

With all models, students will be expected to receive 6.5 hours of instruction for 180 days. Attendance will be taken, and grades will be given for work completed.

Students who spend the majority of their day in the Comprehensive Developmental Classroom (CDC) or have special education requirements will have the opportunity to start in the traditional school setting.

At any point during the academic year, MCS may switch instructional models based on the circumstances of the pandemic. Please know that there is no playbook for a pandemic, and we ask parents and the community-at-large to be patient and flexible as we make uncharted decisions.

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