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The Cheatham County School District announced several important updates for families late last week.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 19, students in grades 7-8 at Cheatham Middle School, Harpeth Middle School and Sycamore Middle School will return to a traditional, in-person schedule. The hybrid schedule, which combines in-person and virtual learning, will no longer be available. 

These students are joining their peers in grades 5-6 at all three schools.

Students in grades 5-6 returned to the traditional schedule on Monday.

The district is also making some changes that will impact students in high school.

After surveying high school teachers, consulting with high school administrators and monitoring health data, Director of Schools Cathy Beck made the recommendation to keep the high schools on the hybrid schedule until the end of the first semester. The Cheatham County School Board supported her recommendation during its Thursday work session. 

The first semester ends on Friday, Dec. 18.

However, some students will be required to return to in-person learning no matter their grade level.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 19, high school students who are failing two or more classes needed for graduation after the first nine-weeks grading period or have not logged in to their online classes as well as all-virtual high school students who are not meeting the terms of the virtual learning contract must return to the traditional schedule.

The district’s high schools will be in contact with the families of these students. 

The same standard is being implemented at the elementary and middle school level.

The district’s elementary and middle schools are currently identifying their all-virtual students who are not meeting the terms of the virtual learning contract and requiring them to return to the traditional schedule. 

These decisions have no bearing on students who opted for the all-virtual learning model and are passing their classes. They will be allowed to continue with online learning. 

Beck said it is critical that high school students who are failing, not logging in or not meeting the terms of the virtual learning contract be in school five days a week so they are receiving the instruction they need and not fall further behind academically. 

The majority of the positive COVID-19 cases in the district have been high school students, according to Beck.

Therefore, in order to mitigate the spread of the virus, the district believes it would be best for the high schools remain on the hybrid schedule for the remainder of the first semester.

The district hopes that the high schools will return to the traditional schedule after the holiday break if the number of COVID-19 cases remains low. 

Should the district experience cases of COVID-19, officials will contact trace and quarantine based on Tennessee Department of Health guidelines. The district will also continue to respond as quickly as possible to minimize the spread and keep students in school for as long as possible. 

Face masks will still be required for students and employees when they are not able to social distance, and temperature checks will continue to be taken when everyone enters each school building. The district will also encourage everyone to social distance as much as possible and promote frequent handwashing and hand sanitizing. 

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