Hawkins County Director of Schools Matt Hixson made his official announcement shortly before 2 p.m. Monday. Hixson and RCS Superintendent Rebecca Isaacs confirmed for the Times News the closure of both systems.
Spring break is next week, so the system will lose only six days. The county and city schools generally mirror schedules due to joint busing and families having children in both systems.
“Making the best decision for Hawkins County”
“We agreed to follow the governor’s recommendation, knowing that an extension is certainly likely,” Isaacs said. “During that (closure) time, we will closely monitor national, state and local health directives, which may necessitate further closings. We will communicate those to you promptly, if that need occurs.”
Hixson noted that Monday morning Gov. Bill Lee urged school districts across Tennessee to close as soon as practically possible.
“My staff and I will continue to work closely with state, regional and local health department officials and will relay any updates affecting our school system operation beyond March 31,” Hixson said in a letter to parents and staff Tuesday afternoon. “I appreciate everyone’s patience while we continued to receive information regarding making the best decision for Hawkins County.”
Drive-through lunch service
Hixson said, “I realize that school closures place a burden on many of our families, and I am pleased to announce we will be providing students with drive-through lunch service at the following locations: Bulls Gap School, Mooresburg Elementary, Hawkins Elementary, Surgoinsville Elementary, Church Hill Elementary and Clinch School.”
All lunch distributions will occur from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., daily, from Tuesday through Friday, March 20. The following week is spring break, so there was no planned school lunches for those days prior to the closure.
Free meals will be provided to any child under 18 who is in the vehicle. No paperwork is required, but the child must be present. Meals should be eaten off site.
Parents should refer to to the Hawkins County School website ( www.hck12.net ) for additional dates the system may be serving meals.
Online teaching resources
“Our teachers have also been hard at work preparing online and take-home resources and activities,” Hixson said. “Please look for school communication with directions on how to access either take home resources or online materials.”
Wifi access will also be available during the week from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in parking areas at designated lunch distribution sites. This will allow parents to download online learning resources.
“Again, please know we have taken the necessary time to develop plans dealing with a potential long-term closure and student and family resources leading to this decision. I will be in communication with you as we receive updates and make decisions,” Hixson said.
“Please stay at home if you are sick”
Isaacs said, “The safety of our students and staffs is our utmost concern. As such, all school activities and events are canceled through Tuesday, March 31. We urge you to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; to use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not readily available; and to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Please stay at home if you are sick except to receive medical care, and practice social distancing until this time of COVID-19 concern passes.
For further guidance regarding safety protocols, please visit www.cdc.gov.
As of Monday, no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Hawkins County. To monitor daily activity, reports, and counties of reported cases, visit www.tn.gov/health.
The site is updated daily at 2 p.m. CST. Most cases in Tennessee remain in the Nashville area in Davidson and Williamson counties.