Interim Director of the Putnam County Schools System Corby King answered questions about the school system’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 24. King’s answers are in bold.
- How does the school system’s free meals program work?
Any Putnam County Youth under the age of 18 can receive the meals provided. They only need to be present at one of the pick-up and go sites or at one of the bus distribution sites. The program is provided through a partnership with the East TN Human Resource Agency (ETHRA). The Putnam County School system is reimbursed per meal that we provide through this partnership. The reimbursement is used to cover the cost of the meal provided including the labor cost for our employees.
- Who can receive food?
Any Putnam County youth under the age of 18.
- Where are the locations for people to receive food and what hours is it available?
Please see the distribution flyer that was sent to families and media partners last Friday.
- If schools have to remain closed past the March 31 date, what happens concerning the following”
All Testing requirements and accountability have been waived for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Teacher Evaluations?
All remaining teacher evaluations have been waived for this school year.
- Graduation, prom, and project grad?
We have currently not made any decisions concerning the end of the school year celebrations. It is our hope that the current restrictions will slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and we will be able to return to school before the end of this school year. We will continue to follow all guidance and recommendations from State and Local health officials pertaining to when it is safe to resume normal school activities. If it becomes necessary to postpone those events, we will work with students and families to make those decisions.
- Will students be able to move to the next grade level?
Yes. Students that are making satisfactory progress at the time of the school closure would be allowed to progress to the next grade level. Students that might be struggling will be given opportunities during the closure for remediation.
- Will Putnam County Schools do online classes?
The Putnam County School System has a remote learning plan that is being rolled out to teachers this week. The plan utilizes many online resources. Teachers and students will work together to continue learning remotely using these resources. The PCSS remote learning plan provides options for students to access electronic devices (Chromebooks) that can be used for online learning. Our plan also assists students in many cases in receiving WIFI access if they do not have that at home. If a student does not have internet access and we can not assist in providing access for them, the student and teacher will work from paper or packet resources.
- If students don’t have a computer or Wi-Fi, how can they receive services?
- Will all extra-curricular activities remain shut down as long as schools are closed?
Yes. As long as schools remain closed related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidance from the health officials is to remain home, all extra-curricular activities will remain shut down.
- Will you have to make up any of the days missed because of the virus?
No. The state has waived the 180-day instructional requirement for this school year so the days closed will not have to be made up.
- How will this shutdown affect teachers and staff pay/benefits if schools remain closed the rest of the school year?
The intent of the Putnam County School Board is to be able to continue to pay all school employees as long as they meet minimum expectations that are provided in the PCSS Remote Learning Plan.
- Will the 180-day school year requirement be waived so seniors can graduate?
- How long will you run the free meals program if schools remain closed?
Unless the requirements change from the government, the meals program will continue for the duration of the closure.