HAMBLEN COUNTY, Tenn. — With COVID-19 cases rising rapidly in Hamblen County, the district has decided to push back the school start date.
It initially planned to go back to school on July 31 but according to a post on its website, will now start school on Sept. 8.
Superintendent Jeff Perry said they made the decision because COVID-19 cases are increasing, and a number of staff members of their family members were affected.
Officials were concerned they may not have enough staff members to maintain the 15:1 ratio that is needed for social distancing, Perry said.
Hamblen County is considered a state hot spot for the coronavirus. As of July 23, the state reported the county had seen 793 confirmed and probable cases in a county of about 64,000 people, with 286 cases currently active.
Hamblen saw a record 78 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday. So far, 1 in every 100 people in the county tested positive. One in every five tests comes back positive, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health.
A model from Georgia Tech indicates gatherings in Hamblen County of more than 1,000 people have a greater than 99 percent chance of including someone with the virus.
The school held graduation ceremonies for Morristown West High School on Thursday night and will host the graduates of Morristown East on Friday night. The superintendent expected there to be 1,200 people at each ceremony.