Pastors and community leaders standing in the gap for students all over the city.

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — It happened all over Knoxville on Sunday afternoon. It was intentional. It was planned.

Taking a proactive approach, the faith leaders of Knoxville took up positions in front of schools all across the city to pray as students prepared to

Rev. Barbara Jackson annointing the entrance to Austin-East High School

return on Monday.

As schools prepare with plans to safeguard classrooms, mandatory mask wearing, separate desk areas and other plans after schools were delayed a week to prepare; the churches and community called on a higher power.

Singing, touching the buildings, annointing entrance ways and praying; all while social distancing and wearing masks; prayers went up as Knox County schools prepare to open up buildings for students return with 18,000 choosing to learn virtually .

The 70-plus pastors of the Faith Initiative have been meeting weekly about COVID-19 and churches reopening. They were joined by community groups and individuals from each community  to cover the students and staff with a hedge of protection.