Points of Interest » 2020-21 Kingsport City Schools Back-to-School FAQ

2020-21 Kingsport City Schools Back-to-School FAQ

The Kingsport City Schools Framework for Opening the 2020-21 School Year Operations Manual was released on July 8, 2020 and updated on August 24, 2020.  This plan outlines the processes and procedures that will be utilized throughout KCS as school starts for the 2020-21 school year.  The plan is based on guidance from the Sullivan County Regional Health Department and State of Tennessee officials and may be revised as new guidance is issued.  Notices of changes will appear in this FAQ.
Procedures outlined in the Operations Manual may be customized to some extent at individual schools, based on unique physical or logistic environments.  Families should expect communication directly from their student’s principals and teachers regarding such details.
Below, please find an FAQ providing additional details regarding the KCS return-to-school plan.  Still have a question after reading the FAQ?  Please submit that to info@k12k.com.  This FAQ will be revised as new or additional information is determined.  
NOTE:  Any references to the wearing of face masks in this FAQ and throughout the KCS Framework for Opening the 2020-21 School Year Operations Manual is superseded by Sullivan County Executive Order Two requiring the wearing of face coverings or masks through 11:59 p.m. on September 12, 2020.  Per the order, KCS students and staff are required to wear a face covering or mask while inside KCS facilities or on school buses (exceptions include: if socially distanced while participating in physical activities such as physical education or athletics; when playing a musical instrument; or as otherwise outlined in Sullivan County Executive Order Two).


Q: When is the first day of school?
  • Kingsport City Schools will open the 2020-21 school year on Monday, August 10, 2020 (updated 7.28.20).
Q: Will schools be having a "meet the teacher night" before school starts?
  • Schools have been working together to design opportunities to most safely connect with students prior to the start of the school year. Each school will communicate processes for students and families to be informed of teacher assignments for the year.
Q: Will bus transportation be available for KCS students this year?
  • KCS Transportation will run all regular and special education bus routes (Bus routes can be found at www.k12k.com Students will be required to wear a face mask while on the bus and be given an assigned seat. (8/24)
Q: Will all students be required to be tested and cleared for COVID-19 prior to attending school?
  • While current CDC guidance does not recommend or suggest that all students should be tested for COVID-19, all KCS students will be temperature checked upon arrival at school. Any child with a temperature of 100.0 or above will be isolated until they are able to return home. Parents are encouraged to screen their child for COVID-19 symptoms, including taking their temperature, before coming to school each day. (8/24)
Q: Are students allowed to have hand sanitizer at their desks?
  • Students are allowed to carry hand sanitizer. Parents are encouraged to discuss safe practices on the use of hand sanitizer with their child.
Q: Why were some of the standard healthy practices (hand washing, hand sanitizer, etc) that are in the yellow protocol not part of the green as well?
  • Healthy behaviors such as regular hand washing and/or hand sanitizing will be encouraged at all times during the school day, regardless of the school operating status.
Q: When parents are pre-screening their students each morning before school, if a student is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, should siblings also stay home?
  • Students with a temperature of 100.0 or higher or exhibiting symptoms of an unexplained cough, congestion, shortness of breath, or gastrointestinal distress should stay home and consider coronavirus testing if no other explanation is available. Current health department guidance does not recommend also keeping siblings at home, unless they exhibit similar COVID-19 symptoms.
Q: If a child is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms at school, are they going to be sent home for isolation?
  • Students who experience COVID-19 symptoms at school will be kept in a designated area of Isolation with a surgical mask in place until they can be transported off campus. They will be transported by their parents, or ambulance if clinically unstable, for off-site testing and medical evaluation. In the event any student tests positive, immediate efforts will be made in conjunction with the Sullivan County Regional Health Department to inform any close contacts (those who spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet to the student). Those identified as contacts may be quarantined. In such situations, classmates will be closely monitored for any symptoms. Students or staff members sent home from school/work for illness must be fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications and have improvement in symptoms for at least 24 hours. (8/24)
Q: If a student is sent home from school due to a fever of 100.0 or above or because of exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, will their siblings also be sent home?
  • If a child is sent home from school for medical reasons, a sibling will not be sent home unless the sibling is also exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
Q: If a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19, will every student or teacher that came in contact with that person have to be quarantined? If so, how long? Who will pay for the test?
  • The Sullivan County Regional Health Department will work with students/individuals who test positive or are contacts to determine the length of quarantine. A “contact” is generally defined as someone who has been within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.  Families should discuss the cost, if any, of the COVID-19 test with their provider. (8/24) 
Q: If a student is participating in Face-to-Face in-person learning and resides with someone who has been exposed to COVID-19, does the student have to quarantine?
  • Based on the current guidance from the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, if a student does not have any symptoms and has not been identified as a contact, the student can attend school as normal.

Q: If it is believed that the child has been exposed to COVID-19, should they self-isolate for 14 days to ensure they are not COVID-19 positive to eliminate possible exposure to other students?
  • Simply a belief of a possible exposure does not result in a self-isolation for 14 days. The communication of exposure, or being a contact, will come from the Sullivan County Regional Health Department. In the event of a positive test of a student or staff member, KCS will work with the Sullivan County Regional Health Department to identify contacts. Members of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department will notify contacts of the appropriate amount of time to isolate or quarantine. The Sullivan County Regional Health Department will provide the parent appropriate documentation to use for excused absences during the time of isolation.
Q: What steps will the Sullivan County Regional Health Department take to partner with KCS in contact tracing efforts?
  • KCS will work with Sullivan County Regional Health Department to provide information for contact tracing that is consistent with regulations and policies regarding confidential information. KCS meets regularly with the Sullivan County Regional Health Department and will update procedures as appropriate.
Q: How will we know what school operating scenario “color zone” we are in?
  • KCS staff meets weekly with members of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department to discuss the current health conditions and review all related data. Based on that review, each Thursday afternoon/evening during the school year, KCS will announce the operating status on the KCS Data Dashboard website www.k12k.com and social media channels that will be in effect for the following week. Utilizing this weekly approach (rather than day-by-day) will allow staff, families, and students to best prepare for school. PLEASE NOTE: KCS and health department officials will review a variety of information to determine the appropriate operating status. (8/24)
Q: Will KCS consider factors such as the case rate of school age children before making any decisions to close schools? 
  • Any decision to transition to a remote learning situation where schools are physically closed for a timeframe will be made in conjunction with the Sullivan County Regional Health Department.  Multiple data points from the TN Department of Health and related community factors will be considered prior to a decision to transition to closing facilities and moving to remote learning. (8/24)
Q: Will students eat lunch within their classroom or in the cafeteria?
  • Students may be required to eat in classrooms, to minimize or eliminate the volume of students in cafeterias. Menu options may be limited or changed and packaged to best minimize contact and handling of food. (8/24)
Q: Will elementary students still receive time outdoors for recess (if the weather is appropriate) or in their classrooms? Will they be allowed to play on the outdoor equipment? Also, what changes will be made during PE, Library, Music, and Art classes?
  • Elementary recess will continue at schools with hand washing or hand sanitizing prior to and after recess. Students will be allowed to use outdoor playground equipment. School administrators and teachers of all classes, including PE, Library, Music and Art classes, will work to create appropriate social distancing as possible along with increased cleaning procedures.
Q: How will schools plan to ensure appropriate social distancing in the classroom, lunchroom, gymnasium, at recess, during car line, etc.
  • During school operation, regardless of the operational status in which KCS is operating, school administration and staff at each school are developing procedures that maximize social distancing opportunities as much as possible in all settings. This will include before and after school activities.
Q: When students arrive at school in the morning, will they have to go straight to their classroom? If not, how will they be required to social distance before school?
  • Following the KCS Framework for Opening the 2020-21 School Year, the administration of each school will develop plans for before and after school to provide for social distancing as feasible while maintaining appropriate supervision.
Q: There are times both before and after school where students congregate and wait in large groups in common areas such as auditoriums. What is being done to help make these environments as safe as possible?
  • School administrators and staff are developing procedures at each school to appropriately space students apart. Depending on the setting, this may involve dividing students into smaller groups and/or moving them into separate locations. This will include before and after school situations.
Q: At some elementary schools, pick-up areas often feature a congregation of parents waiting outside classrooms. Will procedures be altered to address the congregating of visitors on campus? Will parents be required to wear face masks upon pick up?
  • All students and adults on a KCS campus are required to wear a face mask. Depending on the operational status in which KCS is operating, visitors may have limited access to entering the building. (8/24)
Q: How will schools such as Dobyns-Bennett work to control traffic patterns, where students have to go in many different directions?
  • Depending on the operational status in which KCS is operating, each school will develop hallway patterns that seek to socially distance students and staff as much as possible. Some areas, such as the academic pods at D-B, limit the amount of specific hallway traffic flow. (8/24)
Q: Will schools still have large assemblies and programs?
  • Details regarding large gatherings will abide by the appropriate Tennessee Pledge guidelines. Additionally, depending on the operational status in which schools are operating, large assemblies may be discouraged or completely eliminated. (8/24)
Q: What information is available regarding athletics at the middle schools? Are athletics departments seeking consistency between schools?
  • KCS athletic departments are working with other area school systems to implement a consistent return to play plan. Safety precautions and social distancing will take place as appropriate. Further guidance from the TSSAA and the Office of the Governor will inform future actions.
Q: Has KCS considered utilizing alternate schedules, such as staggered attendance days or hybrid classes/remote structure? And if that occurred, will efforts be made to keep siblings on the same attendance days?
  • KCS may elect to operate on a hybrid in-person attendance structure.  School administration will work with families to address situations where siblings may be scheduled to attend on different days. (8/24)
Q: Are any changes to the 2020-21 KCS School Calendar being considered? Will there still be a Fall Break?
  • At this time, there are no additional revisions planned for the 2020-21 KCS Calendar.  If any future considerations regarding a schedule change take place, they will be communicated to our families and staff as soon as possible. (8/24)
Q: If a child is sent home with a fever, the KCS Operations Manual indicates they will need to stay home until symptom-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications prior to returning to school.  Will this absence be excused or will the child be required to have a doctor’s note for this absence?
  • If a child is sent home by school nursing staff, the days required to be absent will be designated as excused days and not require additional medical documentation from a physician. Parents are always encouraged to discuss medical concerns with their provider or seek medical treatment for their child if they feel this is the best decision. Additional medical documentation from a medical provider will be accepted by the school. (8/24)
Q: If a child selects Face-to-Face in-person learning, how will truancy be determined if every respiratory illness or fever could require an absence?
  • If students are sent home by the school nurse, these days will be excused and will not impact truancy.
Q: In the event that a KCS employee or student becomes infected, how long will they have to remain out of school?
  • Any person that is diagnosed with COVID-19 or determined to be a contact will have communication with the Sullivan County Regional Health Department to determine the necessary length of quarantine. Depending on circumstances, quarantines typically range from three (3) to 14 days.
Q: Will the amount of student sick days be adjusted? Will school staff be more lenient on parent notes, if necessary?
  • Schools will work with students and families regarding attendance, due to health recommendations for how long students should be out with potential COVID-19 symptoms or isolation. As will be noted on the 2020-21 KCS Student Handbook, all student policies and procedures are subject to change due to the COVID-19 situation.
Q: Considering the amount of time required to receive test results, how will absences be handled for students that are awaiting COVID-19 test results?
  • If a child is absent while waiting on COVID-19 test results, please provide medical documentation to your school and these absences will be considered excused.


Q: How can I learn more or sign up my child for the Remote Choice Learning 2020 (RCL2020) option?
  • Information about the procedures and expectations for students taking part in the remote learning option can be found by clicking here. To make your selection regarding Remote Choice Learning or Face-to-Face in-person learning, please click here
Q: Is there a deadline for choosing the Remote Choice Learning 2020 option for when school begins on August 3?
  • For planning purposes, we ask families to complete the KCS Learning Choice Intent Form by July 21, 2020. Families wishing to select RCL2020 may complete the form by clicking here on or before July 21, 2020.
Q: Does a family have to make the same Remote Choice Learning or Face-to-Face in-person learning selection for all children in the household?
  • Children within a family do not have to all follow the same plan. Parents are encouraged to select the plan that best fits the needs of their individual children.
Q: What courses will be offered in the Remote Choice Learning Option?
  • The RCL2020 curriculum for the 2020 - 2021 school year is Odysseyware. Odysseyware is self-paced and nationally accredited by AdvancED. Lessons include video instructors that students and families can fast-forward, pause, or rewind, and watch again and again if wanted. Odysseyware units are self-paced. Some additional information can be found by clicking here.
    Students can also receive extra help and have questions answered on school days by KCS teachers. KCS teachers will be available via email or a Google Meet. They will also host office hours during the day where students can virtually drop in and see the teacher via webcam.
    • Courses for K - 5 grade students:
      • Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
    • Courses for 6 - 8 grade students:
      • ELA 6, 7, or 8, Math 6, 7, or 8, Algebra I, Geometry, Science 6, 7, or 8, History & Geography 6 or 8, World Civilizations 7, Career Explorations I, Career Explorations II
    • Courses for 9 - 12 grades students:


Grades 9 - 12 Courses Available


English I, English II, English III, English IV


Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus, Probability and Statistics or Bridge Math (note that Bridge Math is a Grade Results course, not an Odysseyware course)


Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Social Studies

World History, Government, Personal Financial Literacy, Economics, U.S. History Reconstruction to Present, World Geography

Foreign Language

Spanish 1, Spanish 2, Spanish 3


Health Education; Physical Education

Fine Art

Art History, Music Appreciation


Psychology, ACT Test Prep


Office 2013 Applications I Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, & Publisher

Office 2013 Applications II Microsoft Excel and Access

Principles of Business and Finance

Small Business Entrepreneurship

Technology and Business

Corrections: Policies and Procedures

Fire and Emergency Services

Law Enforcement Field Services

Intro to Careers in the Health Sciences

Careers in Allied Health

Forensics: Using Science to Solve a Mystery

Food Safety and Sanitation

Marketing and Sales for Tourism and Hospitality

Planning Meetings and Special Events

Q: Will Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses be available in Remote Choice Learning?
  • No courses in Odysseyware are currently designated as Advanced Placement (AP) or honors.
Q: Will students in Remote Choice Learning have a set schedule or can they work on courses anytime?
  • Attendance will be taken every day for each course and students will be expected to submit assignments and work on regularly scheduled KCS school days. Courses contain recorded videos and are self-paced, so students may work on them at times in addition to the regular school day. KCS teacher support will be live during regular school hours and students are welcome to email them on weekends or at night with the understanding that they may not receive a reply until the morning of the next school day.
Q: How much screen time is required for a student that selects the Remote Choice Learning option?
  • The expectation from the State of Tennessee is that Kindergarten students engage in learning 4 hours per day. Students in grades 1 - 12 should engage in learning for 6.5 hours per day. Activities and assignments for elementary students that do not have to be completed on the computer include independent reading and guided reading by a family member, physical activity outdoors, writing assignments, math problem practice, and science exploration and play. For middle and high school students, activities that do not have to involve screen time include independent reading, writing, working math problems, science labs and experiments, and physical exercise.
Q: If a student selects Remote Choice Learning at this time, can he/she return to Face-to-Face in-person learning when COVID-19 is contained?
  • By selecting the Remote Choice Learning option, students are committing to this learning plan for a period of time. Students in grades K-8 may enter/exit remote learning only at the end of the 9-week grading periods. Students in grades 9-12 may enter/exit remote learning only at the end of the semester. This is required due to the structure of courses and the need to complete the full course period before returning to a different mode of instruction.
Q: Is reliable internet connectivity at home required for online learning?
  • Yes, dependable, secure internet access in the student’s home is a necessity for accessing online content in the Remote Choice Learning 2020 option. A data plan on a cell phone will not be a substitute for internet accessibility on a device. If a family has questions about connectivity, they may contact their school and arrange for a member of the technology department to help them.
Q: Will students participating in Remote Choice Learning 2020 have the same teachers as they would in Face-to-Face in-person learning classes?
  • Students whose families choose Remote Choice Learning will have KCS teachers from across the district available to support them, though they may be different from the teacher they would have in Face-to-Face learning. Face-to-Face in-person learning students and their classmates who have to temporarily learn from home due to a shift into the red operating status will learn from their regular classroom teacher during a closure.
Q: If parents select the Remote Choice Learning option, will the student be able to participate in extra-curricular activities, school athletics, and/or marching band?
  • Remote Choice Learning students will be allowed to participate in after-school extra-curricular activities and athletics.  Remote Choice Learning students will not be able to participate in activities that take place at school during the school day. Students attending after-school extra-curricular activities will be temperature checked each day prior to participation.
Q: Will students whose families choose Remote Choice Learning 2020 be allowed to participate in Face-to-Face in-person courses during the school day on the school campus such as orchestra or band?
  • No, if a student elects to choose RCL2020 student, he/she will not attend regular classes on campus.
Q: What supports will be available for families and students that choose Remote Choice Learning?
  • Students will be assigned to a KCS teacher who will be available during the school day. Teachers will provide office hours for online help, conduct phone or email check-ins, take attendance, provide tech support, and offer other general assistance to students with their online coursework. It is the student’s or family’s responsibility to contact the support teacher or inform them that he or she will be attending office hours or needs tutoring. Learning resources are online as part of the curriculum.
Q: Will students whose families choose Remote Choice Learning be allowed to participate in field trips?
  • Students must be participating in Face-to-Face in-person learning to attend field trips.
Q: If parents choose Remote Choice Learning for the first 9 weeks and then transition to Face-to-Face in-person learning, will on-site orientations be provided for these students once they attend in person?
  • A student who transitions to Face-to-Face in-person learning at the end of a nine weeks or semester will be provided an opportunity to have assistance navigating to classes and the school as if they were a new student.
Q: Will the Remote Choice Learning option be offered for Pre-K students?
  • Remote Choice Learning is only available for Pre-K students who qualify for special education services. Please contact the Director of Special Education or the Coordinator of Early Learning at 423-378-2100 to discuss your child’s specific needs.
Q: If a family chooses Face-to-Face in-person learning, KCS moves into temporary virtual learning for face-to-face students, will that temporary virtual learning be the same as the RCL2020 students?
  • Students who are participating in Face-to-Face in-person learning will have the opportunity in class to learn how to access their lessons online. Their teachers will have an opportunity to prepare them to use technology while they are in the classroom. Teachers who have built classes in other platforms will have the opportunity to move their lessons to Canvas during the 2020-21 school year. Should KCS go into the red zone or should an in-person student have to go home for a few days due to illness, then students’ regular teachers will help their students with online lessons and have Google Meetings with them. In-person students in grades 3-5 who may have to do learning at home temporarily will have the regular KCS curriculum and their regular teachers. K-2 students will have the opportunity to check out a KCS device on a limited basis so they can keep up with their academic assignments. Students in grades 6-12 students will already have a device if they have to learn at home temporarily. Students who are NOT in-person (meaning Remote Choice Learning) will be learning in self-paced online modules and may be working on different standards at different times.
Q: If I select the Remote Choice Learning option, when and where will my student be issued a device?
  • Devices for RCL2020 students will be issued at the student’s base school after the student has enrolled in KCS (if they were not already a student), the family and student have completed the orientation, and they have signed both the KCS Responsible Use Policy (RUP) and the Google Apps for Education Agreement (GAFE).
Q: I want to purchase a device for my student. What is the best choice for children participating in Remote Choice Learning?
  • If a family would like to purchase a device for their student for remote learning, please contact your student’s school and they can arrange for a member of the ASC technology department to assist you.
Q: Will students be able to check out a device from the district to use at home if they choose Remote Choice Learning?
  • Students whose families choose the RCL2020 option and who do not already own their own device will have the opportunity to check out a device from KCS.
Q: Will schools discontinue the practice of sharing supplies?
  • Schools will minimize or eliminate the use of shared materials whenever possible.
Q: If students are sent home for an extended period of time due to possible COVID-19 symptoms or illness, will they have their work sent home with them and be able to have a virtual classroom attendance?
  • Students who are attending school using the Face-to-Face in-person learning option, but have been sent home for a period of time due to a temporary illness or symptoms, will be supported academically by their in-person teachers just as they have been during other extended illnesses. These teachers will coordinate learning expectations and outcomes based on the learning needs and situation of the student.
Q: How will interactive classes like Physical Education work to maintain the safest possible environment?
  • KCS physical education teachers have been working together to develop activities and processes that will support health and safety. This includes designing lessons that support good social distancing and cleaning of materials in between uses.
Q: Music classes have a unique setup, usually without traditional desks. How will music, orchestra, chorus, and band classes address social distancing?
  • Each KCS classroom has unique characteristics, based on size, layout, and format. KCS music teachers and administrators are continuing to review emerging health recommendations and classrooms to determine how to most appropriately distance students. This may require classes to relocate to alternate locations in order to most appropriately social distance.
Q: If health conditions cause KCS to shift into remote learning for all students, what would be the duration of the change?
  • For students engaging in the Face-to-Face in-person option the length of closure and transition to remote learning will be determined in conjunction with the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, monitoring community spread and other factors within the community. On Thursday of each week, KCS will publish the operating status for the upcoming week. (8/24)
Q: Will assessments such as the ACT and SAT take place this year?
  • Tests such as the ACT and SAT will be conducted under the current KCS guidelines and those set forth by testing agencies. At this time, as long as KCS is within the green or yellow zones, ACT and SAT testing is anticipated to continue as scheduled.
Q: What is the plan for serving students with special education services and supports?
  • All KCS staff, and specifically special education staff, will work with students and families to address individual learning needs. Families of students with IEPs who choose Remote Choice Learning will be contacted by their student’s case manager to schedule a meeting to create an Independent Learning Plan. This plan will be an extension of the IEP during the time of remote learning. Parents are encouraged to reach out to their students' special education case manager or the Director of Special Education with questions or concerns.
Q: Will related services (speech, language, occupational, and physical therapy) be provided via remote learning?
  • Families of students with related services who select Remote Choice Learning will be contacted by their student’s case manager or service provider to schedule a meeting to create an Independent Learning Plan. This plan will be an extension of the IEP during the time of remote learning.


Q: What additional materials, supplies, cleaning procedures will be available to staff?
  • KCS has reusable cloth face masks available for all staff.
  • There will be additional cleaning supplies available in classrooms for teachers and staff to use as needed. (STUDENTS MAY NOT BE ASKED TO CLEAN.)
  • Electrostatic sprayers have been purchased for all schools. These will be used in classrooms and common areas.
  • 400 Additional hand sanitizing stations are being installed in all schools.
  • Shields are being installed in high traffic areas such as SNS registers and offices.
  • The State of Tennessee has provided a supply of hand sanitizer, gloves, and disinfecting wipes to all Tennessee teachers. (8/24)
Q: What happens if there is a positive case of COVID-19 in my classroom, building or work location?
  • If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, the Sullivan County Health Department will notify KCS. The health department will conduct a contact tracing investigation in which they will identify anyone who is deemed to be a contact with the individual who tested positive. A contact is defined as someone with exposure to a known case closer than 6 feet for 15 minutes or greater. The health department will determine whether anyone identified as a contact will be asked to quarantine. (8/24)
Q: What if I test positive for COVID-19? Is there paid time off available and when am I able to return to work?
  • If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, an additional two weeks of sick leave (10 days) is available under the EPSLA (see below). Staff can return to work when released from the health department. The health department monitors people who test positive and notify them when they are no longer under quarantine.
Q: When is someone considered to be a contact?
  • The Sullivan County Health Department will determine who is a contact when there is a positive case of COVID-19. A contact is defined as someone with exposure to a known case closer than six feet for 15 minutes or greater. The specific variables that could apply to these situations will be evaluated by the health department who will make the final determination. One or more of these criteria and/or other factors could result in being identified as a contact. (8/24)
Q: Does everyone identified as a contact have to be tested for COVID-19?
  • Not necessarily. Individuals who are identified as contacts are encouraged to reach out to their health care provider for guidance on whether they need to be tested.
Q: What if someone living in my household tests positive for COVID-19?
  • Family contacts to a confirmed positive COVID-19 case will be required to quarantine for a period of at least 14 days, as determined by the Sullivan County Regional Health Department. (8/24)
Q: What if someone living in my household was around someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and is receiving a test as well?
  • Depending on the situation (as determined by the KCS Supervisor of Nursing and/or the Sullivan County Regional Health Department), you may be asked to quarantine while your family member is awaiting test results.  You should consult the KCS Supervisor of Nursing (Vicki Johnston) with the specifics of your situation to determine the appropriate action. (8/24)
Q: Should I let parents know if there is a positive case of COVID-19 in my classroom or if I test positive?
  • You are not asked to nor should you communicate independently with families regarding positive tests or contact tracing. We are in a delicate situation involving personal health information, FERPA and information deemed confidential while still balancing public health concerns.
Q: I have a medical condition that puts me at increased risk for COVID-19, what are my options?
  • If you have personal health concerns, please contact Jennifer Guthrie, Chief Human Resources Officer, to discuss options that may be available at jguthrie@k12k.com.
  • Options for staff are generally as follows:
    • Working virtually: Remote Choice Learning opportunities are being offered for students that will require certified teachers to teach the curriculum. As information is gathered on how many students will need to be served in which subject areas, KCS will solicit interest in this option.
      • Teachers with underlying health conditions that put them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should contact HR if they want to be considered for on-line teaching. They may be able to receive priority consideration for these opportunities as they become available.
      • On-site work is necessary for most classified positions and there is not an opportunity to work remotely. If the buildings or a building is closed due to COVID-19, there may be opportunities to support students in a paid capacity.
    • Leave: Depending on individual circumstances, leave may be available. Below is a brief overview of the types of leave available to employees. Determination as to which, if any, leave is applicable for employees should be made in consultation with human resources. Employees should continue to follow the leave policies in the employee handbook including completing the leave request form found under the Employees Only link on the KCS website.
      • Approval for leave as identified below will require medical certification stating that you are unable to work on-site for a specified period of time. Please notify HR if you need a medical certification form.
      • If applicable, leave options are as follows:
        • Paid Leave: Employees may use accumulated sick, personal, vacation and comp time as available. Please refer to the Kingsport City Schools Employee Handbook for details regarding sick leave, personal leave, vacation time, etc.
        • Unpaid Leave: Staff may use unpaid leave if they do not have sufficient paid leave to cover the leave period.
          • Both full time and part time employees can apply for this leave.
          • Leave Flexibility for Staff:
            • In addition to the use of sick leave under the district sick leave policy, staff may use sick time to care for a child who is quarantined whether or not diagnosed with COVID-19.
            • Staff may use unpaid leave to care for a child who is quarantined due to COVID-19. You should notify your supervisor of the need to take leave and submit requests for unpaid leave through Skyward for approval by your supervisor.
        • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) (*Expires December 31, 2020 unless extended by Congress): Two weeks (10 work days) of additional paid sick leave are available to employees under six specified circumstances identified below. To request this leave, employees need to complete the FFCRA Sick Leave Request form found under the Staff Only link on the KCS website.
          • This additional sick leave is 10 days of total time, not per occurrence. If 10 days is not used for one incident (such as a quarantine), any remaining days may be used for any of the circumstances listed below at a later date.
          • Reasons for eligibility under the EPSLA include:
            • I am subject to a Federal, State or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
            • I have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
            • I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and I am seeking a medical diagnosis.
            • I am caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2) (*sick time paid at ⅔ pay).
            • I am caring for my child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons (*sick time paid at ⅔ pay).
            • I am experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
        • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Please refer to the employee handbook for eligibility and rights under the FMLA.
        • Expanded FMLA (EFMLA) (*Expires December 31, 2020 unless extended by Congress): The federal government has allowed for paid leave at ⅔ pay for the loss of child care due to COVID-19. There are limitations and eligibility criteria for this leave. Please refer to the attached FFCRA Employee Rights poster for more information and contact Human Resources if you have any questions.
Q: If I take leave, can I still carry insurance?
  • If you are on approved leave with KCS you can continue to carry insurance. However, you will need to continue to pay for your insurance premiums during leave. If you are on paid leave, (such as sick leave, personal leave, vacation time ,etc.), your insurance premiums will be deducted from your paycheck.  At such time as your leave becomes unpaid, you are responsible for making monthly premium payments for the whole premium (both district and employee portion).
Q: What if I have a family member living in my home who is at increased risk of illness from COVID-19, what options are available to me?
  • Employees can take leave as stated above (using paid time if available, or unpaid leave if you do not have the time available). Medical certification of the family member’s health condition that results in an increased risk of illness due to COVID-19 will be required. Please contact human resources if you have specific questions.
Q: If I am approved for leave, can I take unpaid leave first or use my paid days intermittently with unpaid days?
  • No. Employees will need to use any paid leave first before taking unpaid leave consistent with KCS policy.
    • *Note that the additional 2 weeks of sick leave available under the EPSLA listed above is available to be used before using any of the employee’s own paid days.
Q: Is there paid leave available if I have to quarantine because of a positive test or being identified as a contact?
  • The EPSLA allows for two weeks (10 days) of additional paid sick leave.
Q: Is there leave available if I have a child who tests positive for COVID-19 or who is quarantined and I need to stay home to care for my child?
  • Under that circumstance, you are eligible for up to two weeks of additional sick leave under the EPSLA at ⅔ of your pay. Or, you can use your sick leave or other paid time to receive full pay.
Q: Will there be an option to teach virtually?
  • KCS is providing a Remote Choice Learning option to families. Under this scenario, we anticipate some virtual teaching opportunities. Once we have the numbers of students who are taking this option and their selections, we will be able to make those virtual options available to staff.
Q: Are there options to work remotely for non-certified staff?
  • There are limited options for classified staff to work remotely. In the event a school or school building is closed, there may be opportunities for staff to support students and continue paid work through any such period. However, paid work is not guaranteed at that time.
Q: If some students in my class are quarantined and others are not, will I need to provide support for students who are Face-to-Face in-person learning and those who are Remote Choice Learning?
  • In such circumstances, teachers should be prepared to support students who are out of school for an extended period consistent with how students are typically supported when absent from school for an extended period of time.