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Knox County Schools will close for rest of school year, following recommendation from Governor Lee

Governor Lee recommended schools close for the rest of the year, Wednesday. However, it's up to the districts to follow his recommendation.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Knox County Schools announced Wednesday that it would close for the rest of the year, until May 21.

Governor Bill Lee recommended schools close for the rest of the school year during his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday. However, the announcement was not a mandate. It is up to school districts to decide on whether to follow his recommendation.

Officials with KCS said that educational resources would be available through the week of May 11. Meals would also continue to be distributed through the end of the school year.

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"I know that a lot of people will be disappointed, but I think at the same time, it's not a surprise either," KCS board member Susan Horn told 10News. "The district has been anticipating that this could be coming."

The school district announced that they developed a new grading plan for students after they were sent home and schools closed in March. The plan will be announced on Thursday, April 16, according to officials with the school district.

Knox County Schools also developed a "KCS@Home" online resource, to help students continuing learning while staying at home.

"For kindergarten through eighth grade, the good thing is that we were nearing the end of the school year and they did have the vast majority of their content already covered," Horn said. "Most of those students will be well prepared."

Horn added that she expected to see additional reviews at the beginning of next year, as well as earlier benchmark testing to figure out where the gaps are.

Governor Lee also announced that he would create a task force to help at-risk students who may depend on resources from their schools. The task force will check on students to deliver meals, lessons and to make sure they stay safe.

"We're just disappointed that we won't be able to finish the school year," Horn said. "I know teachers are missing students and students are missing teachers ... My heart just goes out to all of our seniors  that will not be able to go through their last days of class of being in high school together."

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