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Knox Co. Schools unveils criteria for red-yellow-green days that determines school status

Attendance rates for students, teachers, substitutes, bus drivers and cafeteria workers factor in.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — When Knox County Schools released its back to school plan in July, it based everything on a color-coded system of red, yellow, or green. 

Basically, green days would be business as normal, yellow meant special COVID-19 safety procedures were enforced, and red would transition school to online only. But officials didn't clarify the criteria used for establishing those colors.

Now, two weeks into school, officials have detailed that information on the school's website.

For student and staff attendance, it's a green day if schools have an attendance rate of 93% or greater. If the attendance rate is 90% to 93%, it's a yellow day and it goes red if the attendance rate is below 90%.

Transportation to school also factors in, and that likely includes the availability of bus drivers. If there's less than 5% service interruption, it's a green day. If there's between 5% and 10% interruption, it goes yellow and greater than 10% would constitute a red day.

If school is in session, they have to feed the kids and keep the buildings clean, so cafeteria workers and custodians are also factored in. If there is a combined absence and vacancy rate of less than 15%, it's a green day. A yellow day is called for when the rate if 15%-20% and it's red if the rate is greater than 20%.

Officials also consider the number of substitute teachers that are available. If they can fill greater than 75% of the vacancies, that's a green day. If they can only fill 70%-75% of vacancies, the day is yellow. If officials can fell only 70% of the vacancies, the day goes to red.