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Back-to-School plans vary for East, Middle & West TN counties

Here's a look at the reopening plans for three of Tennessee's biggest school districts: Knox, Davidson and Shelby County Schools.

TENNESSEE, USA — Every school district across the state is preparing for the fall semester in different ways to serve the needs of their community. 

Here's a look at the reopening plans for three of Tennessee's biggest school districts: Knox, Davidson and Shelby County Schools. 

Knox Co. has about 60,000 students, Davidson Co. has nearly 85,000 students and Shelby Co. serves nearly 113,000 students. 

Virtual Learning

  • Knox Co. has a virtual option for students.
  • Davidson Co. is starting the year off with remote learning until at least Sept. 7.
  • Shelby Co. announced Monday, students would enroll in virtual learning until further notice. 

More than 80 percent of families have requested virtual learning this fall. 

As of spring and summer, all three districts are now one-to-one, meaning students will have their own laptops or chromebooks. 


  • In Knox Co., food will be served with disposable containers and plastic utensils. Additionally, assigned-seating may take place.
  • In Davidson Co., while students are starting the year learning from home, every school kitchen will still help prepare and distribute meals. The district will use regular bus routes to deliver meals to students without access. 
  • In Shelby Co., meal prep will still take place at every school site and multi-day meal packs will be available for pick-up.

Mask requirements

  • Knox Co. requires all staff and students to wear masks while on campus when physical distancing isn't possible. Face masks will be provided to anyone that needs one. 
  • When Davidson County returns to on-campus learning in September, students and teachers will be provided masks and will be required to wear them. 
  • Shelby County's Superintendent Joris Ray released a video message where he believes masks and social distancing is not enough to keep students and staff safe with the rate of COVID-19 cases. "That's why they're going fully virtual," Ray said. "The school system does say masks will be required when in-person instruction resumes." 


  • Knox Co. Bus riders will be required to wear a mask on the bus and sit with family groups.
  • In September, Davidson Co. buses will have assigned seats, with only two students per seat.

Start dates

  • Knox Co. pushed back its start date to Aug. 17.  
  • Davidson Co. will begin remote learning on Aug. 4. 
  • Based on on the Governor's extended state of Emergency declaration until Aug. 29, Shelby Co. will start back virtually on Aug. 31. 

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