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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Hawkins County school sticks together to stay positive while overcoming COVID-19 challenges

Clinch School in Hawkins County has around 130 students, which has both challenged and helped the school through the COVID-19 pandemic.

HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. — Clinch School in Hawkins County has around 130 students, which has come with both challenged and helped the school through the COVID-19 pandemic.

People in the school said that it is unique. They're more than a school — they're family. 

"We all have the same goal, that our kids are safe and that our school stays open," said teacher Stacey Reed. 

Because of the remote location, opening virtually was tough. 

"We don't get Wi-Fi, it's slow so it's very hard," said 5th grader Halle Seals. 

"We ain't got that good of internet," said 9th grader James Cave. 

"It breaks you down because you have this expectation and what to be effective but you're also running a new platform; you're not in the classroom. It's like being a first-year teacher all over again," said teacher Pamela Richter. 

But because of its small size, the school was about to easily implement social distancing guidelines. They were able to go from in-person four days a week for a few hours to full time, in-person four days a week. 

"She said, 'Saylour you're going back to school,' and I literally jumped up and down," said 6th grader Saylour Perry about when his mom told her the news. 

"Our students are not as behind as we thought. The biggest pressure is to catch them up, especially our younger and most at-risk kids," said principal Denise McKee. "Very emotional start, very many sleepless nights for all of us."

Like many schools, it was a tough journey to get where they are, but they're hopeful and confident good things will continue. 

"We are staying socially distanced, we are wearing our masks like we're supposed to," said Perry. 

"It's all of us working well together and I think that's the big pictures, it's taken all of us," said Reed. 

The Hawkins County School District installed Wi-Fi hotspots to help remote areas. One was put in Clinch School's parking lot to help students connect to the internet without entering the school.