Ralph Ringstaff

Ringstaff

The Murfreesboro City School Board on Tuesday night voted 7-0 for a return to classes in person with an option for students to instead engage in online learning.

The first day is currently set for Aug. 10, the same as Rutherford County. That is a change from the original July 30 start date.

The plan the board approved gives Interim Superintendent Ralph Ringstaff the authority to change school operations, including the calendar, as conditions warrant. There was much discussion of perhaps adjusting the calendar to match that of Rutherford County Schools’. The RCS School Board has discussed the possibility of setting a phased-in approach over the course of several days.

MCS needed a learning plan by July 24 under state requirements, Ringstaff said. Approval could have been extended to Sept. 30, but if classes continued after that without a plan, those days would not count toward the 180 days that students must attend, he said. One school day must have 6.5 hours of instruction.

Under the plan that was approved, distance learning is an option. Students must engage with a teacher giving a lesson from an empty classroom during a scheduled time each day.

Other options considered were a hybrid plan in which grades pre-K to 2nd would be in class each day and grades 3-6 would have been learning remotely. Option 3 was distance learning for everyone.

One factor was that there are not enough laptops or other electronic devices for all students.

Officials said 49 percent of MCS students do not have internet access at home. There was talk of outfitting buses to serve as wifi points and parking them at multifamily complexes or installing more internet capacity at schools.

Staff discussed a number of cleaning and hygiene practices that will be followed, including daily temperature checks.

Full details will be coming to parents soon, officials said.

More information will be in next week’s edition of the Murfreesboro Post.

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