ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville City School announced on Monday it will continue virtual classroom instruction for two weeks after Christmas break ends in anticipation of a potential spike in new COVID-19 cases brought on by holiday get-togethers.

It’s not an unprecedented phenomena.

New COVID cases across the region hit all time highs after Thanksgiving, including Hawkins County which saw a major bump in new COVID cases around the first of December, culminating in the county’s biggest single day of new cases, reaching 132 on Dec. 13.

On Monday, however, Hawkins County posted only 10 new COVID-19 cases, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. That’s the lowest single day number of new cases in Hawkins County since Nov. 24 when it was 9.

For the week between Dec. 22-28 there were 258 new COVID cases reported in Hawkins County, a major drop from the previous week (Dec. 15-21) when there were 471 new cases.

“We are expecting a spike after the holidays”

The independent K-8 Rogersville City School announced Monday that due to Covid-19 concerns, RCS will remain on virtual learning from Jan. 5, when it returns from Christmas Break, through Friday, Jan. 15.

After being off for MLK Day the following Monday, RCS plans to return to its previous “hybrid” in-school classroom instruction schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

On the hybrid schedule, half the student body alternates two days in classroom and two days virtual on Monday through Thursday, and then all students are virtual on Friday.

“The numbers are still high and we are expecting a spike after the holidays,” said RCS Superintendent J.T. Stroder.

As Jan. 5 approaches, RCS parents are advised to check classroom links on the RCS website for information posted by their child’s teachers and one-on-one messages.

Hawkins County schools virtual until Jan. 20

Last week Hawkins County Director of Schools Matt Hixson announced that the entire school system would be mostly virtual Jan. 4-19, returning to the Monday-Thursday in-school classroom instruction on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Fridays will remain virtual in the county school system after Jan. 20.

“As you know, we were able to hold in-class instruction for most schools through the first semester,” Hixson said. “However, toward the end of the first semester, we dealt with staff absences due to quarantines following Thanksgiving break. In discussions with our local health officials, we are planning for similar trends following the Christmas and New Year holidays, as many families have traveled to get together.”

Small groups of targeted county students will be brought in for classroom instruction before Jan. 20.

Parents are advised to contact their child’s teacher or your school administrator if they are notified to send your child to school during this time.

If they aren’t notified for in-school instruction prior to Jan. 20, parents are asked to ensure their student is accessing all materials online during this time.