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Knox County Schools pushes start date back a week to Aug. 24

Superintendent Bob Thomas sent an email to staff announcing he would delay the start of school for students by one week to better prepare for virtual instruction.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Knox County School Superintendent Bob Thomas announced in a letter to staff and families he is delaying the start of schools by one week.

Schools were originally planned to start back in Knox County on August 17. Now, the first day will be Monday, August 24.

"I want to let you know that after considering a variety of factors, I am delaying the start of school for students for one week. This means the first day of school, both in-person and virtual, will be Monday, Aug. 24," Thomas' letter read. "I want you to know that this was not a decision that we took lightly, but we felt it was important to help our schools be better positioned for reopening, especially with the launch of our new virtual learning program."

Thomas said the extra week will allow schools more time to schedule around both in-person and virtual classes, secure more staffing for virtual classes, and give teachers more time to become familiar with online platforms.

"This school year won’t be easy, but we are determined to start school in the safest manner possible," Thomas said to teachers and parents.

Thomas said more than 18,000 students, roughly 30% of the entire student body, have been enrolled in virtual classes, which "significantly exceeded" the districts expectations. 

Out of all elementary level students, nearly 8,000 students signed up for virtual classes. That's about 30 percent. More than 18,000 will take in-person classes. 

When it comes to middle school-level students, just over a third, or 4,700 students enrolled in virtual learning. More than 9,000 will take in-person classes. 

Around 5,400, or 28-percent, of all high school-level students, enrolled in virtual. 13,500 chose in-person learning.