KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County Schools officials sent an email to parents Friday saying that it's possible children's classes, grade-levels or schools could move online during the school year.
"While we are working hard to ensure the school day goes smoothly, we know there will be bumps along the way," they said in the email. "Please know that we are doing everything we can to help minimize disruptions, but it is possible that at some point during the year, your child’s in-person class, grade level, or school could move to online learning for a period of time."
For Sarah Dill and her family, going to virtual school wasn't an option. She's a member of the military and works a civilian job too.
"I would be hiring individuals to come into the home while I do work," Dill said. "[Going virtual] would be detrimental. It would challenge us in many ways."
KCS said that moving students to online learning could give officials the flexibility to take specific approaches to different challenges at different schools. It could also limit the spread of COVID-19, so it affects the fewest number of students possible.
Officials asked parents to have a plan in place in case their children need to start learning remotely. They also said they are committed to giving families enough notice to make arrangements, but also said there could be times when that might not be possible.
"I am asking for your patience and understanding if this occurs," Superintendant Bob Thomas said in the email.
Renee Patton said her family doesn't have a plan.
"I understand that the county needs to be cautious and I am thankful for their concern, but some parents like myself have to send my kids to school," Patton said. "I will have to quit my job if there is no school in session. My kids are thriving in a classroom setting. They need it for their emotional health."
Other families shared similar concerns.
Tammy Brummitt has custody of her two grand-nephews, who are 5 years old and 9 years old. She spent her summer driving them to daycare or leaving them with a babysitter. She was relieved that school is finally back in session.
"It's not easy just to be able to say, 'Oh I can stay home,' when you're trying to support a household," she said. "I don't know, honestly, what I would be able to do."
The first week of school ended Friday in Knox County, and officials said they were grateful for the patience of students, families and educators. They also said they were looking forward to the rest of the school year.