WCS to Begin Phased-in Return to On Campus Learning for All Grades


Williamson County Schools (WCS) announced it will open campuses to additional grade levels, beginning August 24, through a phased-in return to ensure a smooth transition for the students’ first days on campus.

The 2020-2021 school year officially began on August 7th under WCS’ “Medium Community Spread” protocol, in which early childhood, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first and second grades, along with the ALC, received on-campus instruction and grades 3-12 received remote instruction.

“We continue to be in regular contact with State and local health authorities and others as we work to make informed decisions regarding the return to school for students. As of today, we have dropped into the Low Community Spread after a slow reduction the past three weeks from the community peak. Mayor Anderson’s mask order remains in effect. Our local authorities and service providers have shared that this reduced rate has been positively felt in their services. Our screenings, mask requirement and other safety protocols have worked well for our students and staff who have been on campus during our Medium Protocol.

At the same time, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Pearcy has stated that when schools reopen there will be positive cases. We are dependent on the local health department‘s work in those cases to ensure that they have the staff to conduct contact tracing when those events occur,” WCS wrote in an email to parents.

The phased in approach is as follows:

• Beginning Monday, August 24, all elementary school students, including Pre-K and EC, will be on their school campus for on-campus learning. Bus service will be offered, and cafeterias will serve meals. Students in six through twelfth grades will remain remote.

• On Friday, August 28, sixth and ninth grade students will return to campus for on-campus learning. This will allow our newest learners at these school campuses to become familiar with the building, school day, etc. Bus service will be offered, and cafeterias will serve meals.

• Beginning Monday, August 31, all traditional students will be on-campus. Bus service will be offered, and cafeterias will serve meals.

• WCS Online students will continue with their online program of study through the semester.

Williamson County has now reached “low community spread.” According to WCS’ Reopening Framework, the protocols for low community spread include:

• All students in school on-campus or online based on parent preference.
• Parents and students follow Self-screening Protocol.
• Continue emphasizing good hygiene along with building cleaning.
• Continued monitoring of reportable illnesses by coordinated school
health/nursing staff/Williamson County Health Department.
• Emphasize handwashing before and after classes/activities utilizing
soap/water along with hand sanitizer.
• Social distancing will be used in buildings and buses when feasible. The
recommended social distance shall be used in areas of mass gathering.
• A cloth or disposable face covering must be worn by all students, staff and
visitors while on school property except as follows:
• when an individual cannot safely wear a cloth or disposable face
• while eating and drinking
• while indoors and maintaining social distancing, at the direction of
WCS staff
• while outdoors and maintaining social distancing, at the direction of
WCS staff
• Staff, students and visitors will be screened prior to building entry in
accordance with CDC recommendations.
• Follow CDC’s guidance for quarantine (recommendation to stay home until
14 days after last exposure for someone who has had close contact with a
person with COVID-19).
• Each reported or confirmed case will be evaluated, and the need for school
closure will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
• Fewer than 0.5% of County population (fewer than 1,192 active cases).

WCS Reopening Framework

The WCS school board voted 11-1 on July 13 to approve the board’s reopening framework. Click here to read the entire framework.