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Shutdown extended a week, Hawkins schools now set to reopen April 27

Jeff Bobo • Mar 26, 2020 at 1:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — To no one's surprise Tuesday, Hawkins County Director of Schools Matt Hixson announced the addition of another week to the system-wide shutdown underway as part of statewide efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

The previous return date of April 20 has been extended to Monday, April 27, and that includes the independent K-8 Rogersville City School, as well.

“Per the Governor's recommendation this evening, Hawkins County Schools will now be closed through April 24, with a new target re-opening of April 27,” Hixson said Tuesday. “Please continue to follow the CDC and local and regional health guidelines for ensuring your safety and those around you.”

The free lunch drive-thru service at six schools will continue throughout the extended closure, with meals provided from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all students 18 and under at Bulls Gap, Mooresburg Elementary, Clinch School, Hawkins Elementary, Surgoinsville Elementary and Church Hill Elementary.

Hixson said Hawkins County Schools are averaging about 600 children's meals per day.

Comments from the Tennessee Education Commissioner

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn released the following statement in response to Gov. Lee’s announcement recommending school districts remain closed through April 24:

“This is an unprecedented time for our country and state and we thank Gov. Lee for his leadership in protecting the health and well being of Tennessee's students and teachers,” Schwinn said. “We know school closures represent a significant disruption for families and students and the recommendation to extend them has not been considered lightly. The Department of Education team will continue to work closely with our districts as they serve students and families during this time. We are committed to doing whatever we can to support our district leaders as they make the necessary decisions to ensure students can continue to access critical meal and other services, as well as receive high-quality academic instruction while they are out of school.”

Schwinn added, “Even in the midst of these challenges, we have seen an incredible outpouring from districts, schools and teachers going above and beyond to ensure students continue to have access to food and have the supports they need to continue learning. This is a huge testament to our resilience as a state and the dedication of our educators and leaders.”

Ongoing efforts toward home learning

Hawkins County Schools Assistant Director of Federal Programs Dr. Michelle Harless told the Times News that students have been provided online materials and/or printed materials to continue their studies at home.

“There are no letter grades associated with the activities or strict academic guidelines, but teachers have provided some suggested completion dates,” Harless said. “Teachers are also encouraging daily reading and writing activities. Our goal during this time is to keep kids engaged in learning and practices recently-acquired skills.”

Daily story time on Facebook

Every day at noon a different Hawkins County teacher reads a story from a book via live stream on the Hawkins County School District Facebook page.

For example, on Wednesday youngsters heard a book called “Fox in Socks” by Dr. Seuss. On Tuesday it was “The Story of the Three Little Pigs and on Monday it was “My Lucky Day” by Kiko Kasza.

The noon story time live streams have been going on for the past two weeks when school was dismissed over Coronavirus concerns, and previous live stream videos can be found on the school system Facebook page.

Attendance scavenger Hunt Canceled

Due to the current situation with COVID-19 and urging from Governor Lee to stay home whenever possible, HCS has made the decision to discontinue its Attendance Scavenger Hunt on social media for the month of March.

Attendance supervisor Greg Sturgill expressed thanks to all those who participated in the hunt,and suggested they save their pictures for an opportunity to re-post them when the scavenger hunt is launched again in September.

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