Hamblen County School Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services

Safe Return to In-person Instruction and
Continuity of Services Plan

Addendum Guidance


LEAs are required to update the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan every six months through Sept. 30, 2023. Each time, local education agencies (LEAs) must seek public input on the plan and any revisions and must take such input into account. The purpose of the plan is to keep stakeholders informed.

Every LEA should complete the addendum and upload it to ePlan in the LEA document library and post it to the LEA’s website (Feb. 15 and Sept. 15). Like the development of the plan, all revisions must be informed by community input and reviewed and approved by the governing body prior to posting on the LEA’s publicly available website.

Please consider the following when completing the addendum:

  • Ensure the LEA used multiple models of engagement offered to stakeholders. Examples may include surveys, in-person or virtual committee meetings, town hall meetings, or other inclusive engagement opportunities.
  • LEAs should engage all applicable groups noted in meaningful consultation during the crafting of the plan and when making any significant revisions or updates to the plan.
  • The number of stakeholders engaged should represent the composition of students. For example, if students with disabilities make up 15 percent of students, then 10-20 percent of respondents should represent this subgroup.
  • Ensure the stakeholder engagement happened prior to the development/revision of the plan.
  • The LEA must engage the health department in the development and revision of the plan. This is different from providing the health department with COVID-19 numbers.
  • Plans must explicitly address every bullet point in Question 3 regarding district policies and strategies.
  • Plans require local board approval and public posting.
  • LEAs must update the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan at least every six months through Sept. 30, 2023, seek public input on the plan and any revisions, and take such input into account. All revisions must include an explanation and rationale of why the revisions were made.
  • All revisions must include an explanation and rationale, with meaningful public consultation and in an understandable format. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act requires LEAs to post their Health and Safety Plans online in a language that parents/caregivers can understand, or, if it is not practicable to provide written translations to an individual with limited English proficiency, be orally translated. The plan also must be provided in an alternative format accessible, upon request, by a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and
Continuity of Services Plan Addendum

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief 3.0 (ESSER 3.0) Fund under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, Public Law 117-2, was enacted on March 11, 2021. Funding provided to states and local educational agencies (LEAs) helps safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students.

In the fall of 2021, LEAs developed and made publicly available a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan. All plans were developed with meaningful public consultation with stakeholder groups. LEAs are required to update the plan every six months through Sept. 30, 2023, and must seek public input on the plan and any revisions and must take such input into account. LEAs also must review and update their plans and ensure they align with any significant changes to CDC recommendations for K-12 schools. Like the development of the plan, all revisions must be informed by community input and reviewed and approved by the governing body prior to posting on the LEA’s publicly available website.

The following information is intended to update stakeholders and address the requirement.

LEA Name:  Hamblen County                                                                                                                                                                      

Date:  9/12/22

1.   Describe how the LEA has continued to engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders in the development of the revised plan.

We continue to engage our stakeholders through the following programs, most of which have been in place for a number of years.
-Community Forums
-Parent Advisory Group:  Quarterly
-Student Advisory Group:  Quarterly
-Teacher Advisory Groups:  Quarterly
-Teacher Forums
-Principal Meetings:  Monthly
-Social Media Postings Soliciting Parent, Community, and Advocacy Group feedback
-District Web Site Postings Soliciting Parent and Community Input
-ESSER Stakeholder Surveys posted on the district and all school web sites (119 Responses)
-Meetings with Advocacy Groups
Our largest underserved group is our Hispanic/EL population (30%/18%). Their most influential advocacy group, HOLA Lakeway, has a number of members who are Hamblen County Schools employees and we have worked closely with them on the development of this plan.
The public forums and School Board Meetings have been essential to receiving quality stakeholder input. The discussions between members of the community, board members, and district staff have been invaluable in formulating policies and guidelines that address stakeholder concerns and needs for the coming school year. Our approach in soliciting feedback for ARP ESSER was to talk to as many people in our community as possible rather than depending solely on a blanket survey. We have reached out to the community in general on our web site and on social media and received some feedback. We will continue to do so as we move through the 2022-23 school year. We have also posted a stakeholder survey on all web sites.
The Dept. of Children Services here in our county has been an advocate for foster children and children coming back into the district from facilities around the state. Their recommendations have been seriously considered and adopted where feasible in this and other grants we are currently reviewing.


2.   Describe how the LEA engaged the health department in the development of the revised plan.

The health department has taken over all contact tracing. Our number of active cases at the end of the 21-22 school year was zero and remained less than 5 for March through May. The health department continues providing testing and vaccinations while both are widely available in the community. With the number of cases so low and the increase in at-home testing, cases we and the health department are not aware of are probably higher than reported. We have maintained a close working relationship with them as we monitor case counts and make decisions around our response to the changing landscape for the current school year, 22-23. The department has kept us abreast of evolving guidelines and worked with us to determine how best to implement those guidelines as they change.


3.   Provide the extent to which the LEA has updated adopted policies and a description of any such policies on each of the following health and safety strategies.

 Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies
Our SWDs are receiving all services in their respective schools. All schools are open for the 22-23 school year. Teachers and administrators will work closely with the parents of students who become sick or quarantined to ensure services are not interrupted, or that interuptions are minimized.
Physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding)
Currently, we continue to encourage reasonable physical distancing.
Hand washing and respiratory etiquette
Frequent handwashing and coughing into the elbow remain protocols that are uniformly enforced throughout the district.
Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities including improving ventilation
Local and ESSER funding continues to be used to ensure custodial and other staff have all of the supplies needed to ensure classrooms, common areas, and all high frequency areas are disinfected regularly. We currently have three projects underway or planned focused on improving ventilation by replacing/upgrading HVAC systems.
Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine
Contact tracing is currently being done by the Health Department. Quarantine periods remain per CDC and Tennessee Dept. of Health guidelines.
Diagnostic and screening testing
The district applied for the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) grant and was approved for $1,725,898.79. The majority of this funding was earmarked towards COVID-19 testing for employees and students (with parent permission) during School Year 21-22. For School Year 22-23, we continue to offer staff and student testing in all schools using funding from the ELC Grant.
Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible
The district continues to work closely with a local pharmacy, Crescent Center Drugs, to provide vaccinations and boosters for all faculty and staff. They have scheduled specific days for our employees and catered to the needs of the district. This partnership has been very beneficial for us.
Universal and correct wearing of masks
Current policy is that masks are optional. Employees who are fully vaccinated and exposed to the virus are allowed to continue to work but are encouraged to wear a mask. Employees and students returning from an illness are encouraged to wear masks for 10 days.


4.   Provide a current description as to how the LEA is ensuring continuity of services including but not limited to services that address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff’s social, emotional, mental health, and other needs, which may include student health and food services.

The district is currently operating as normal with no virtual students. Services are being provided in schools per IEPs, ILPs, and 504 plans. We have used a large amount of ESSER funding to create additional positions to address learning loss and the social/emotional/mental health needs of students. Positions added include interventionists, reading coaches, regular education teachers, school counselors, a behavior specialist, ESL teachers, and two additional social workers. We have also added four additional Nurse positions to ensure the health needs of all students are being met.