On April 15, 2020, Governor Bill Lee recommended that schools in Tennessee close for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. While we are not necessarily bound to this recommendation, we certainly want to make the best decisions to serve our students and faculty. Additionally, our campus is within the city limits of Chattanooga, and our mayor has yet to lift the shelter in place order for those not involved in “essential” services.
After much consideration of civil and public health recommendations and limitations, we have decided to continue our distance learning program for the remainder of the spring semester. Our teachers have been doing a terrific job of preparing and delivering lessons from a distance, and our students have shown resilience as they continue adapting to a new way of learning and interacting with their teachers. We look forward to having students back on campus, but we will continue making the best of our challenging situation.
As a private school, we are held to the standards of our accrediting organizations – TACS and Cognia (formerly known as SACS AdvancED). This week, I received notice that we are still required to offer 180 days of instruction and to continue administering formative and summative assessments to our students. The requirement for standardized testing, however, has been lifted for this school year.
We expected to receive these directives and are following them. We are on pace to meet the 180-day requirement even with our current four-day school weeks. The 180-day requirement includes the flexibility for inclement weather days, and we have the discretion to use those days to address distance learning circumstances.
Currently, high school graduation is set for May 15. Several factors are under consideration and will be communicated once decisions are made. We are likely to have a limited number in attendance and other health and safety precautions in place but having high school graduation is a high priority for us.
Other year-end events will either be cancelled or significantly modified. Details concerning those activities will be shared in early May.