How Tennessee school districts are preparing for new year as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Keeping Schools Safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The countdown is on as school districts across Tennessee scramble to finalize and submit their plans to the state board of education by July 24.

State Education Commissioner, Dr. Penny Schwinn, said they have given districts guidance, but it is up to them to make a plan that fits the needs of their communities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.

“We’re in a situation where we are trying to figure out day-to-day and even hour-to-hour,” said Dr. Schwinn.

Many school districts are planning in-person classes with added safety precautions like wearing masks and social distancing. However, they have also proposed back-up plans in the event school buildings close once again.

Tennessee has been reporting a steady uptick in positive cases and testing. To stop the spread of coronavirus, Governor Bill Lee has given county mayors the authority to issue mask mandates. And many have responded with face-covering requirements.

“COVID is not taking a holiday.  It is moving through our state, and it is very important that citizens understand that,” Lee added. “We have to take responsibility of wearing a mask, of social distancing, of not doing things we know create a higher risk of spreading disease.”

Commissioner Schwinn said the department of education will continue to provide resources to districts and parents through its online portal.

News 2 digs deeper into the issue of restarting school in this special report COVID-19: Keeping Schools Safe.  In the video, we explore different options for districts, break down where many counties stand so far, and look at the challenges school officials are working to overcome.

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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