0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Alcoa City Schools Community Stakeholders started this petition to School Board Chair Alcoa City Schools Board of Education Chair Julie Rochelle and

WE, as stakeholders in the Alcoa City Schools community, seek to preserve for students all of the benefits of in-person learning as much as possible while prioritizing the health and safety of students, staff, and the community at large. Rapidly rising rates of transmission of COVID-19 infections within our schools and community are straining local health resources and jeopardizing our school systems’ ability to continue to provide in-person instruction for all students. In Blount County, 14% of the 2,614 cases among children have occurred in the last two weeks alone. 

These rapidly worsening conditions require urgent action. According to Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, the authority and responsibility rests with local school boards to develop policies responding to this crisis. As one of the first systems in the nation to open this school year, ACS is in a position to set an example of excellence and promote the highest standards of citizenship and learning. We urge Chair Rochelle and other members of the Alcoa City Schools Board of Education to convene an emergency special meeting (in accordance with Board Policy 1.400) so that the Board may take timely and public action to clarify, formalize and publicize its current policies regarding COVID-19 protocols, as required by Board Policy 1.600

IF the board has no such policy in place, THEN in accordance with Board Policy 1.600, the Director of Schools is empowered to take immediate action to address current needs. 

In this case, the Director may and should immediately move to enact all measures necessary to mitigate the impact of disease transmission on students’ opportunities to attend school in person, and the Board should immediately and openly work to develop appropriate policy and protocol in proportional response to the current pandemic crisis. Such actions by the Director and policy developed by the Board should be:

  1. Implemented before the return of students on September 8, 2021.  
  2. Published on the ACS website to be publicly and fully accessible by the ACS community and made available for public review according to Board Policy.
  3. Developed based upon expert medical and scientific guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the safe operations of schools; and to be revised in response to future updates to those guidelines and in response to evolving pandemic conditions and data. Policies should be demonstrably based on science-based evidence and NOT based on personal or political belief or opinion.
  4. Developed in the best interests of the students and ACS community, in consideration of the input of all stakeholders, including students, families, staff, and other ACS community members, solicited by the Board through a public forum at the earliest possible time in a venue that is open to the public and able to safely accommodate stakeholder participation, in alignment with the Tennessee Department of Education’s guidance for meaningful public engagement regarding prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 as students return to school.
  5. A comprehensive response that complies with the Tennessee Department of Education’s DISTRICT: Public Plan- Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan, for recipients of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

This document states that:

“LEAs need to update the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan at least every six months through September 30, 2023, and must seek public input on the plan and any revisions, and must take such input into account. All revisions must include an explanation and rationale of why the revisions were made."

The document also includes the following guidelines for these plans:

Safe Return to In-Person Instruction:  

Describe the extent to which the LEA has adopted policies and a description of any such  policies on each of the following health and safety strategies:  

  • universal and correct wearing of masks;  
  • physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding);  
  • hand washing and respiratory etiquette;  
  • cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities,  
  • including improving ventilation;  
  • contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine;  
  • diagnostic and screening testing;  
  • efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible; and
  • appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies.  

Continuity of Services Plan  

How the LEA will ensure continuity of services including but not limited to services to address the students’ academic needs, and students’ and staff social, emotional, mental health, and  other needs, which may include student health and food services. 


  • In order to appropriately respond to current circumstances, the ACS Board of Education should develop and provide plans that address all aspects outlined in the direction from the Tennessee Department of Education and should include, at a minimum:
    • Universal masking for students, staff, and visitors, with appropriate measures to comply with Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order 84 as long as it remains in effect.
    • Transparent, school-based publishing of COVID infection rates occurring in the schools to include ongoing and cumulative data updated daily;
    • Notifications to parents of a student’s potential exposure to COVID based on confirmed positive cases from tests administered by the school; AND from probable cases reported by parents and guardians resulting from positive tests administered by other medical offices and/or clinics
    • Physical distancing measures and documentation including: Reduced group sizes; Best use of space to reduce crowding; Podding and cohorting; Regularly updated seating charts
    • A continuity of operations plan to ensure ongoing educational instruction for students who may not attend in person due to quarantine, illness, or health vulnerability; or in the event schools must close due to widespread sickness.
    • Health and education campaigns that model and promote safety measures including: Masking; Hand washing; Respiratory etiquette; Sanitization and cleaning; Diagnostic screening and testing; Benefits, safety, and availability of vaccines.
0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!