Tennessee House Education Committee aims to hear issues about schools reopening

Coronavirus

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Tennessee legislative committee gets an update next week on how K-12 schools are doing in the midst of a pandemic.

The chair of the House education committee said he’s inviting superintendents from different parts of the state to see how schools are re-opening.

“To give us and idea what the first 4-6 weeks look like,” said Rep. Mark White.

Tennessee schools reopening so far have been a mixture of back in class, stay at home virtual learning or a combination of both.

The Education Committee chair house brought up an issue long a problem in the learning of the state’s K-12 students.

“Most of our state is rural counties and I talk to superintendents every day,” added Rep. White. They don’t have broadband in maybe a half or third of their county, so if you don’t have broadband, you don’t have virtual.”

Rep. White said even his Memphis district has trouble with enough broadband for students at home because of it cost, but virtual learning is just one issue for lawmakers to address when their formal session begins in January.

“We are going to see a lot of issues where children are falling behind especially those early years where you learn to read during K through 3rd grade,” said the House education committee chair.

He said the Tennessee school superintendents he talks to are frustrated by the shifting numbers that come with COVID-19.

“My superintendents tell me ‘look, we just need to know where we stand, what we need to do and then don’t change the data every week on us,’ ” said the lawmaker.

The two-day hearing on how schools are doing begins next Tuesday.

Among those scheduled to appear is State Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn.

News 2 digs deeper into how schools are planning to move forward safely for the new academic year. See how other districts around Middle Tennessee are handling everything from classroom concerns to the future of sports in our special series. Click here to see more.

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

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