NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Wednesday afternoon, Governor Bill Lee announced his recommendation that schools remain closed for the rest of the school year amid continued concerns of the spread of COVID-19.

The governor went on to say that the state expects school districts to comply with the recommendation.

He also announced a new group pertaining to the safety and well-being of students who are likely more at-risk while they are away from the school environment – the COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Tennessee: Gov. Lee recommends school districts to remain closed for the rest of the school year

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn says she appreciates the governor’s recommendation in order to protect the health and safety of all Tennesseans.

“Children being out of school for such a long time has significant implications for a child’s wellbeing, and this poses a different kind of challenge for all of us, as communities and as a state. There is critical work ahead, and I am honored to convene the COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force in the coming weeks to focus state and local leaders on the wellbeing of Tennessee’s children.”  

TDOE Commissioner Penny Schwinn

Commissioner Schwinn and the COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force will be supporting local leaders and communities in caring for students, more details are expected in the coming weeks according to the Tennessee Department of Education.

“The Tennessee Department of Education has developed and designed a number of resources for optional, free use by local districts.
This includes school closure toolkits; three times per week superintendent calls; instructional, daily programming on PBS and companion teacher, student and family guides; free access for all families to early childhood platform ReadyRosieSchoolMealFinder website for families to locate meal services; a STE(A)M Resource Hub; as well as federal waivers with a focus on nutrition, accountability, and special education. 


School districts respond

“Out of respect for the request from our Governor and Commissioner of Education, I am announcing that Cumberland County Schools will remain closed for the remainder of this 2019-2020 school year. This is a decision that weighs heavily on the heart of educators and we know there will be significant implications as a result of this extended closure. Our administrative team will be hard at work in planning for the closing of a school year in a truly non-traditional way. We have begun discussion about how to honor our seniors, move forward with summer school planning in the event we can have it and how we will begin a new year following this lengthy closure. Many decisions need to be made to care for our children. Know that we have children at the forefront of every decision to be made. We will be updating you often and ask for your cooperation and patience as we develop plans to provide educational opportunities for our children.”

Janet C. Graham, Director, Cumberland County Schools

Clinton City Schools also said Wednesday its district will be closed the remainder of the year.

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