KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Private schools in Knox County are seeing more inquiries and enrollments than normal compared to last year. Many of those inquiries have come within the past 10 days.
This comes as Knox County schools announced its back to school plans allowing students to return in-person or online. Some parents have wondered if in-person classes can be handled safely with large class sizes.
"There's a little bit of tension, anxiety and kids need that extra level of support. Small classes are a benefit there," said Christian Academy of Knoxville Head of School, Rich Fulford.
CAK is booming with calls, from families wanting more information and to enroll, but the flood of requests isn't just happening at the academy. Calls are coming in everywhere.
Tate's School in Knoxville said they're getting calls every day about enrollment.
Knoxville Catholic High School is seeing a 58 percent increase in web traffic compared to 2019.
Episcopal School of Knoxville said their inquiries grew almost 40 percent from last summer. They're also expecting more post-start inquiries and applications. A school spokesperson said it's going to be an interesting year for sure.
"We have such a small environment, we feel like we can police it a little better," said Fulford who believes the smaller population in private schools will help keep the school year manageable.
"When they arrive, they're gonna have their temperature checked with a mask, and go to their classroom," he said.
All students and staff are scheduled to return to CAK August 11 with more changes to class setups for safety.
"The goal would be to be on-campus fully, no cases, no exposure but that's probably not as realistic as we'd like it to be," said Fulford.
Being realistic, he said there may be times the school will have to move from in-person to online learning.
"If we have a larger case count in elementary we may move elementary online and have high school stay on campus," he said.
But he also said he knows nothing can be predicted. He said the school plans to take everything day by day.
"Our goal is to get through each day really," he said. "I'll be happy to start the school year. I'll be happy to see the students back on campus."
CAK said their elementary school is filling up and are expecting to create a waiting list.