Mt. Juliet Christian Academy officials said they will open school on Wednesday, Aug. 12 with no option for virtual learning at this time.
The private school campus on North Mt. Juliet Road took a direct hit from a tornado last March before closing its buildings for COVID-19 precautions.
“Our goal is, and has been all along, to allow our students to safely return to campus for ‘normal in-classroom operations’ beginning Aug. 12,” a statement from the school said. “We wish to approach this as simply as possible, but at the same time with proactive due diligence to keep our campus as safe as possible. This will involve some new policies and procedures and an acceptance of liability by our parents to ensure our reopening of school.”
Headmaster Brig Thompson, who started at the school in June of last year, said there are about 550 students enrolled.
“It has been a wild first year for sure, but I have seen the best of the Volunteer State by the volume of people that came to help with tornado cleanup and so much help offered since then,” he said. “My wife and I feel strongly that this is absolutely where God has brought us for such a time as this. We still have much that we will need help with, but from what I have seen, the community will surround us as we formally begin this recovery process.”
The tornado caused extensive damage to the entire MJCA campus, including the secondary wing, library, gymnasium and athletic fields, according to Thompson.
In order to accommodate all of the students from pre-K to 12th grade for this school year, two large modular buildings have been moved to the campus for secondary students.
Thompson said the school will go “virtual in times they have to temporarily close the school.”
“We just do not have the personnel and resources and our technology infrastructure is not back to full strength yet to pull off both simultaneously at the level of excellence our families are accustomed to,” he said.
Thompson said temperatures of all employees and students will be checked upon arrival.
Wearing masks or face shields by students in the classroom will be optional, unless a teacher identifies themself as “at-risk” and requests that students in that class wear masks.
Worship in the chapel will be with physical distancing and all classrooms will be equipped with sanitizer, sprays, wipes and more. There will be hand sanitizing stations throughout the campus.