School Board votes to revise school-closing trigger at Monday’s meeting

The Moore County School Board moved the “school building closure” trigger Monday night at their regular season meeting.

Previously, the board approved a Reopening Framework that stated as long as the active case count remains below 33 (or less than .5% of the population) students can continue to attend in person classes. Once that number reached above 33 (or between .5 % and 1%), local schools will move to a hybrid model where half of students will attend school every other week while those not at school continue to learn remotely.

On Monday, the Board changed that decision-trigger to be based on absenteeism at any given school rather than the amount of community spread. At the time of the meeting there were 26 active COVID-19 cases in Moore County.

After the meeting, Director of School Chad Moorehead said he preferred a plan that allowed parent the most personal choice.

“I felt that it was important that this section of our framework for reopening be changed.  Since our school system is allowing parents to choose between in-person and remote learning, we have a hybrid model now that is responsive to individual homes,” he said. “There may be a point that we have to transition to full remote learning for a period of time but I feel like personal choice is the best option.  If the spread of the virus increases rapidly parents can choose to move to remote learning for their own children.  We are all working hard inside the schools to be as safe as possible and to be able to keep the buildings open.”

The revised plan also stated that community events like the rate of sickness, hospitalization rates, etc will also be considered in addition to school absentee rates. It also states that administration may choose to close individual schools for 3-5 day for thorough disinfecting should smaller outbreaks occur.

To read a complete copy of the Metro School Board Reopening Framework, click this link.

School Board meetings take place the second Monday of each month at the Central Office Building located on the Lynchburg Elementary Campus. Each meeting begins at 6 p.m. and can also be attended virtually. The next meeting takes place on September 14. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Moore Parents: Remote learning applications due by July 28

This school year, parents have the option to send their kids for in person school or stay at home for remote learning. The remote learning application deadline is July 28. {File Photo}

MOORE COUNTY — Last Thursday, the Moore County Board of Education decided to give Lynchburg parents the option to either send their kids to public school for in person learning or keep them at home and participate in remote learning. (To read our full coverage of that meeting, click here.)

However, if you intend to teach your children at home, you’ll need to fill out the school system’s online application prior to July 28. Administrators also plan a remote learning orientation to help parents get acclimated to the at home system. Those orientation will be offered on three dates: Monday, August 3 at 4 p.m. as well as Tuesday, August 4 at 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. Each session will last about an hour and a half.

If after orientation, parents decide that they no longer want to teach their children at home, they will be allowed to change to the in person learning option. Student who initially choose the in person option will have the ability to change to remote learning for the remainder of the grading period.

“At the end of each grading period (nine weeks for LES or twelve weeks for MCHS), students will select to continue remote learning or return to traditional learning,” the school systems website states.

To learn more, visit the school systems website by clicking here. Or for questions, call the Central Offices at 931-759-7303. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Parents: Moore bus riders should register

Moore County Schools won’t require masks this school year but bus riders will be required to wear masks and register prior to July 30. {File Photo}

According to the plan approved by the Metro School Board last Thursday, the Moore County School Board will not require all students to wear masks to attend the 2020-21 school year. However, students who ride the public buses to school will have their temperature taken prior to boarding the bus and will be required to wear masks while on the bus.

Parents of bus riding students will also need to register their bus rider prior to the first day of school. Only one form per household is required. To view the complete form, click here. If you have questions or concerns, contact Wendy Hart at the Moore County School System’s Central Office 931-759-7303 or visit the Moore County Schools website . Parents should register bus riders by no later than Thursday, July 30 to be eligible to ride the bus on the first day of school, which is August 5. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

School Board will discuss COVID re-opening plan on Thursday

MOORE COUNTY — What’s the continuous learning plan and/or COVID re-opening plan for Moore County Schools? That question will be front and center at the Metro School Board meeting on Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m. In order to accommodate what could be a larger crowd, the meeting will take place at the LES Cafeteria.

On June 18, Director of Schools Chad Moorehead told The Lynchburg Times that he planned to stick to the Metro School Board approved schedule if possible. (To read that article, click here.)

“We have a school board approved schedule in place and I’m going to do everything I can to stick to it,” he said. “The one variable I can’t control is the virus.”

Whether or not schools should re-open to onsite learning and what that would look like has been a hot topic in Moore County recently as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise. After holding steady at five total cases up until June 26, Moore County’s case count has since more than quadrupled. As of Monday, July 13 there were 21 total cases with 15 of those being active.

All Metro School Board meetings are open to the general public. To full the full agenda, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Schools seek parent feedback on fall re-opening

Moore County Director of Schools Chad Moorehead recently posted a survey requesting parent feedback on fall school re-opening. {File Photo}

MOORE COUNTY – Director of Schools Chad Moorehead recently received dozens of pages of Tennessee Department of Health guidance for fall school re-opening. And the recommendation are broad … a continuation of remote learning, staggered schedules, limited bus capacity, … they’re all on the table.

That’s why Director Moorehead recently posted the Schools COVID-19 Re-Entry Survey on the school system’s website. He’d like parent’s feedback before moving forward. The 12 question survey gauges not only local parent’s comfort level with sending their kids back to public schools, but also asks about virtual learning and a student’s access to reliable Internet.

On Thursday, Director Moorehead told The Lynchburg Times that he plans for local students to be back in Moore County classrooms by August as planned but he admitted the situation was fluid.

“We have a school board approved schedule in place and I’m going to do everything I can to stick to it,” he said. “The one variable I can’t control is the virus.”

Director Moorehead also said that he plans to post a second, more detailed survey in the coming weeks. Currently, the first full day of classes for Moore County students is August 5. The next Metro School Board meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday, July 13 at 6 p.m.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Moorehead scores in top 2.5 percent

MOORE COUNTY — Moore County Schools officials announced this week that one of their own scored in the top 2.5 percent of all high school juniors taking the PSAT/NMSQT. The PSAT /NMSQT is the practice version of the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) and the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship.

Audrey Moorehead
MCHS junior Audrey Moorehead {Photo Provided}

That score earned Moore County High School junior Audrey Moorehead an invitation to apply for the College Board National Recognition Program (CBRP), which recognizes students in regions who identify as rural areas and small towns.

To be considered, students must complete a brief online application and a school official must also complete supporting online verification. The physical awards for all recognized students are sent directly to a school official to distribute at the school level sometime after July. Participation in the CBRP will enable Moorehead to highlight her educational achievements as she applies to colleges.

Audrey is the daughter of Chad and Lisa Moorehead of Moore County. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

MCHS Graduation set for June 19

Great news MCHS Class of 2020. School officials plan graduation ceremonies for June 19. {File Photo}

MOORE COUNTY — According to Director of School Chad Moorehead, graduation ceremonies for the Moore County High School (MCHS) Class of 2020 are now set for Friday, June 19 at 6 p.m.

At 9 a.m. that morning, there will be a breakfast for senior class members followed immediately by graduation practice. Then at 6 p.m. friends and family members are invited to watch the graduation ceremony at Doug Price Field.

Director Moorehead say the school will not impose a crowd limit but they do ask everyone to socially distance throughout. Both the home and away bleachers will be open to help accommodate this.

“We can not be the social distancing police,” Director Moorehead said in a video statement. “We ask that you do that yourselves and if you are in fear for health reason, please stay home.” •

School Board meets Monday … virtually

LYNCHBURG — The Moore County School Board will resume business on Monday night but not as usual. April’s regular session meeting will be held online. To listen, click here.

On the agenda for the April 27 meeting, the Board will review policies based on TSBA recommendations, as well as vote on as Board resolution to suspend some policies due to COVID-19.

Director Moorehead will present a request from the annual Bike to Jack and Back fund-raising ride to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The group requested the use of the LES campus for camping during their October 17-18 event. October’s set to be a busy month for Lynchburg. The second annual Lynchburg Music Fest will take place at a yet undisclosed location on Oct. 2-3 and the Jack Daniel World Championship Invitational BBQ will take place in Wiseman Park on a new date this year, Oct. 10. The Oak Barrel Half Marathon – which normally takes place in April – will happen on October 24.

Director Moorehead will present a letter of resignation from varsity boys head basketball coach Heath Hardin. He will also discuss with the Board how refunds for this year’s senior trip – which was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns – will be allocated. Varsity cheer sponsor Erin Rutledge will also request permission for the 2020-21 squad to attend cheer camp at Tennessee Tech University.

Driector Moorehead will give a report on the construction progress at MCHS, graduation plans, prom, and the LES Gym floor replacement.

To view a full agenda, click here. The online meeting is available to the public beginning at 6 p.m. For more information, visit the Moore County Schools website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Essential: Patsy Kennemer and the Moore County school nutrition staff

{Editor’s Note: This is the sixth of a multi-part series highlighting all the essential folks in Moore County. Readers nominated each interview subject. To nominate someone, email editor@lynchburg-times.com.}

School nutrition staff (from left to right) Edde Warwick, Patsy Kennemer, Sybil Dye, Tammy Weddington, Helen Neece, Lisa Locke, Lynette Ivey, JoAnn Bean, Susan Thomas, and Joy Byrom have prepared over 9,000 meals since March 17. {Photo Credit: Stacy Preston}

For School Nutrition Supervisor Patsy Kennemer and the Lynchburg Elementary school nutrition staff life looks very different today than it did just two months ago. Before, their weekdays typically filled with the sounds of student chatter and the comfort of daily routine. They’d come in early, get their tasks accomplished, and then reset for the next school day. Then the COVID-19 health crisis hit and local officials closed Moore County schools after a recommendation from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.

Today, no students roam the halls of Lynchburg Elementary. There are no filled classrooms, no recesses, and no buses lining up in the afternoon. Even so, Kennemer says the school nutrition staff is busier than ever. They went from preparing just 60 meals each day to over 200. Students pick up meals on Mondays and Thursdays. On those days, student receive not only a hot lunch but also pre-wrapped meals for the following days.

“It feels surreal now going to work and not hearing the laughter of the children echoing through the cafeteria,” says Kennemer. “But our day-to-day tasks are still about the same at the school.”

School Nutrition Supervisor Patsy Kennemer
School Nutrition Supervisor Patsy Kennemer {Photo Credit: Stacy Preston}

For many students, lunches to go are an opportunity to get out of the house, see familiar faces, and maintain a sense of normalcy. For others, it’s a saving grace during these uncertain times.

“I have heard many parents say they are so thankful for this service because they have lost jobs or income just isn’t coming in like it used to,” says Kennemer. “This helps people who normally don’t have issues with feeding their children.”

Kennemer says LES cafeteria changes aren’t just for students. She’s also working hard to keep her staff safe. They reworked their kitchen layout and the meal pick up area to keep staff separated.

When we ask her about the moment she felt most essential, she demurs and instead gives much of the credit to her dedicated staff.

“There are truly many people who are deserving of the title of hero,” she says. “Since we began serving meals on March 17, we have served over 9000 meals. I know firsthand the amount of time, dedication, and preparation that it takes to make it all happen.”

She says some of her staff stand out front offering a warm smile and a hot meal … even in the pouring rain … while others works behind the scenes preparing food as quickly as possible but they all deserve recognition for the outstanding public service they are doing.

When we asked what part of “normal” life she and her staff miss most, she answers immediately.

“The daily interaction we have with kids … it’s great to start your day with a smile from a child.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Moore County Schools closed but will serve free student meals

LOCAL NEWS — Based in part of the recommendation from Governor Bill Lee on Monday morning, Director of Schools Chad Moorehead announced that all Moore County school will close beginning Tuesday, March 17 and remain closed through Tuesday, March 31.

“At that point, the situation will be assessed to determine the need for further closure,” the school system announced Monday around 10:30 a.m.

During the closure, all Moore County campuses will be closed to all groups. This includes all sporting events and sports practice.

However, the system will provide free breakfast and lunch to any child aged 0-18. Food will be distributed at Lynchburg Elementary at the pick up and drop off door. Staff will serve breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. According to school officials, the student must be present to pick up food.

“You do not have to be a student in Moore County to participate,” the school system said. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}