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Schools shut down for week
Grant Swallows headshot.jpg
Grant Swallows

A rocky school year is only getting rougher.

Warren County Schools will be closed this entire week as the school system grapples with soaring COVID cases.

The next day of school for Warren County students is after the Labor Day holiday on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

“First, let me say this decision is not preferable,” said Director of Schools Grant Swallows. “We believe students need to be in school. However, sickness continues and staffing is an issue.”

As of Friday afternoon, Swallows said 228 students and 23 school employees are in isolation. That means they have tested positive for COVID. In addition, more than 1,000 students have been identified as being in close contact with an infected student or staff member.

Unlike last school year, virtual learning is not an option this year, except for students who have been accepted into Warren Connect, the county’s remote learning school.

Officials in some school systems are urging Gov. Bill Lee to reconsider the state’s stance and allow widespread remote learning this school year considering the scope of the pandemic.

“Because of the state’s decision to remove virtual learning options districtwide, we will use stockpiled days that are usually reserved for inclement weather,” said Swallows in explaining how the school system can call off an entire week of school. “We will have five remaining for the rest of the school year.”  

Swallows said teachers will not be expected to provide instruction this coming week.

“There will be no remote learning that takes place so no teaching and learning expectations exist,” he said. “Extracurricular activities will be on a case-by-case basis and limited to those activities that can take place safely. All school buildings, including after school daycare, will be closed for thorough cleaning.”

The first 13 days of school in Warren County have not been ideal, but better days will hopefully come sooner rather than later, Swallows said. 

“This closure is an opportunity for us to reset, hope to get healthier, and return with a concentration on the well-being and education of our students,” said Swallows. “I’m begging our families to use this time wisely.”