Wrapping up a one-of-a-kind semester for the holidays

Wrapping+up+a+one-of-a-kind+semester+for+the+holidays

Avery Lockhart and Haven Lloyd

The end of the semester can be the easiest part of a class or the most difficult. In the last  weeks of the semester, many students are working hard to bring their grades up or to maintain their current grade. As the last days approach, many classes are reviewing for the final, which counts for 15% of the student’s grade. In previous years, seniors were given an attendance incentive which allowed those who have missed no more than two days in a class where they had at least an 85% average to be exempt from the final exam. However, in the wake of COVID-19 protocols causing many students to quarantine after being contact traced, Knox County Schools has decided to forgo the incentive for the 2020-21 school year.

With the looming stress of finals filling the school, 2020 has thrown another curveball. All Knox County Schools will be moving to virtual learning the week of December 14th thru December 18th.

“No,” says Ethan Fike, a senior, when asked if he thought in-person school would last almost a whole semester without going on red. “Cases continued to rise after summer so I thought we would go on red a long time ago,” he explained.

This is a sentiment that echoes throughout the school, as many students and staff members did not believe schools would remain in-person for the entire semester.

Madison Perrin, a freshman, commented, “I didn’t think we would’ve made it this far because there were so many kids getting quarantined and contact traced. I thought we were going to get out by the beginning of November.”

For some students, moving online for the week before winter break seems like an extension to their vacation, but for others, the stress of finals has multiplied. Testing at home is a different experience than testing in a structured learning environment, and most students have never taken a test outside of the classroom.

Assuming that the state of the pandemic doesn’t escalate over winter break, in-person students, along with students who are switching from virtual to in-person, will return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 5. Despite winter break presenting many opportunities for spreading the virus, such as Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, the school board is optimistic that school will be able to resume in January as planned.