Governor Lee addresses students returning to campus, fall athletics

Coronavirus

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers questions during a news conference Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee focused much of his Thursday news conference on students returning to college campuses this fall.  

Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission Mike Krause said the state is getting ready to welcome back more than 240,000 on college campuses. With this, he’s asking all college students to take at least part of their classes online to free up room in classrooms and allow for social distancing. In addition, Director Krause said the most important thing students can do when returning to campus is wear a mask.  

Tennessee Tech President Philip Oldham also spoke at the COVID-19 news conference. He said the campus has installed enhanced air filtration systems in all student spaces, in addition to creating designated entrances and exits and installing hand sanitation stations around campus.  

Governor Lee briefly spoke about college athletics and the 2020 college football season. He said he believes all athletes who want to play football should be able to do so.  

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey also spoke during the briefing, offering some positive news. She said state health officials are cautiously optimistic, with the state positivity rate being less than 10% during five of the past six days. Although case counts are still rising in rural parts of the state, large and mid-sized cities are starting to see a decrease in cases. Dr. Piercey also encouraged citizens to continue getting tested and consider signing up for clinical trials if they do test positive for COVID-19.  

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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