Jackson County Schools Superintendent Kevin Dukes said on Friday there are no plans to go virtual learning after Thanksgiving as neighboring county school systems made announcements to do so earlier this week.

“I believe we need to remain in a controlled environment,” said Dukes. “You go remote, and you have the fear of people going out of town, on vacations, and kids playing outside.”

On Thursday, Marshall County Schools Superintendent Cindy Wigley announced the school system would be transitioning to virtual learning beginning Friday, due to COVID-19, with plans to return to in-person classes on Jan. 5, 2021.

The announcement came after Wigley reportedly tested positive for the virus.

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Jason Barnett also announced he has tested positive for the virus. Barnett also said the school system will follow a remote learning schedule the week after Thanksgiving, Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

“The decision was made in part because we understand that our students, faculty and their families are looking forward to gathering together and spending time with loved ones during this Thanksgiving Holiday period,” said Barnett. “It is our worry that with Thanksgiving on Thursday and families getting together for this holiday through the weekend, partnered with Black Friday, in the week following the holiday, we could see a rise in confirmed cases and subsequently student and faculty exposures.”

Jackson County Schools will be on break during Thanksgiving week, Dukes said.

He said he didn’t fault other superintendents on decisions made following Thankgsiving.

“This is new to all of us,” said Dukes. “We just feel we need to take necessary precautions and keep it controlled, instead of letting everyone roam free.”

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