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Three Sullivan systems now out until at least April 6

Rick Wagner • Mar 17, 2020 at 6:53 PM

KINGSPORT — Kingsport, Sullivan County and Bristol, Tennessee, public schools are extending their novel coronavirus or COVID-19 closures until at least April 3, meaning that Monday, April 6, will be the earliest day students will return to class in the three systems.

In addition, Kingsport City Schools soon will announce how students can learn remotely from their homes as well as how they can have an opportunity to get free internet access at home, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Andy True said Tuesday evening.

Sullivan County and Bristol, Tennessee, schools were already out for spring break this week, while Kingsport and Hawkins County schools will be out next week but are providing feeding programs this week. The three systems in Sullivan County announced the latest extended closure in a letter Tuesday afternoon.

WHAT ABOUT MEALS?

Meanwhile, Tuesday was the first day of feeding programs in Kingsport and Hawkins County, both of which are closed in a move to thwart the spread of the coronavirus. 

Because of federal regulations, local schools can’t do feeding programs during breaks in the regular school calendar. However, True said KCS officials have been in touch with other local school systems and that Sullivan County has been promoting the free breakfasts and lunches KCS is offering this week.

Next week, True said, city students, as well as any people 18 or younger, are welcome to use the feeding program of Sullivan County and Bristol. Federal regulations require the feedings to be open to all, regardless of enrollment or residency.

However, the federal regulations have been waived for the Tennessee Department of Education to allow carry-out or even drive-by pickup of the food instead of serving it on site. Another wavier allows the meals to be prepared at a school kitchen rather than elsewhere in the community.

Kingsport is going a step further, using school buses to deliver meals to students who can’t get them. Meanwhile, Sullivan County has done an online survey of students to help school officials determine where the community carry-out or drive-by locations should be for that system.

See the Times News online for updates and more information.

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