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Maryville City Schools release preliminary plan for in-person fall classes

The 5,300 student district is among the first in East Tennessee to outline how an in-person return might work.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — When school starts up again, Maryville City Schools plans for students to be back in class.

"We need to be open," director of schools Mike Winstead said. "It's been too long."  

The district of 900 staff and seven schools will reopen to five thousand students at the end of next month.

They'll be greeted with temperature tests, sanitizer stations, fewer field trips and fewer group activities. 

"Having kids no longer go to recess with all 150 kindergartners like we've done forever is certainly something we're going to do," Winstead said. 

But he added the district is not going to follow all the CDC COVID-19 guidelines. 

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"There's no perfect answer and there's no answer that's going to satisfy your entire community. There's just no way," he said. 

Plans do call for reduced interaction, social distancing and perhaps staggered start times to allow staff to check student's temperatures--anything over 100.4 degrees and the child will be sent home. 

Families who fear infection can continue classes online. 

"We think July 30th we're going to have two school systems operating," Winstead said. "One in-person very close to normal and one online serving students virtually like we did the last nine weeks." 

But a district survey says most parents --- 71 percent --- will send students back to in person classes. 

The kids, after all, have been home since March.