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Superintendent Bob Thomas recommends Board of Education continue COVID-19 guidelines

Knox County Schools' Reopening Plan is set to expire over the summer. It includes requirements to wear masks and virtual learning options.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas recommended that the Board of Education continue its COVID-19 safety guidelines into the next school year, according to a memorandum on Thursday.

The guidelines include requirements for students and staff to wear masks if the school is identified as being at a certain risk for COVID-19. Knox County Schools uses a color-coded strategy to determine how each school day will go.

It factors in the attendance rate for teachers, students and support staff. They also consider the number of substitutes available and consultations with the Knox County Health Department.

  • Green: On-campus learning with standard operating protocols
  • Yellow: On-campus learning with increased COVID-19 safety protocols
  • Red: Virtual/remote learning only

Staff and students need to wear masks while on campus when social distancing is not possible, on yellow days. People with a medical condition preventing them from wearing one are exempt. Masks are also provided to people who need them, according to the schools' plan.

"Our priority has and continues to be the safety of our students and staff," Thomas said in the memorandum.

He also recommended that Knox County Schools continue to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as local and state health departments.

He also said that guidance could change in several ways as the school year continues.