NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Department of Education announced earlier this week plans for releasing a series of guidance “toolkits” for school districts as officials look to reopen this fall.

Back in April, Gov. Bill Lee recommended that schools remain close for the academic year to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus; school districts across the state cut students’ academic years short in order to follow the governor’s recommendation.

Last week, the state began issuing reopening guidance as school districts begin examining the how-tos of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic in a few months.

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Monday’s release of TDOE’s “first five reopening toolkits in a series of 20-plus topic-specific resources to help guide district leaders in local decision-making for school reopening this fall” marks a more defined effort from the state.

The five topics included School Nutrition, Special Populations, Finance, Transportation, and Templates for school calendars.

“These reopening toolkits represent an incredible amount of work done across our districts and the department to gather best practices, recommendations, and information that will help spur critical and creative thinking about how our state —and our nation— navigates a completely new era of education,” TDOE Commissioner Penny Schwinn said Monday. “We hope these toolkits provide our district and school leaders with considerations and guidance as they make the best local decisions for the upcoming school year.” 

There will be more “toolkits” and resources released in the days ahead, according to TDOE. The schedule for those topics was shared Monday:

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

  • Technology 
  • Wellbeing & Mental Health 
  • Counseling 
  • Early Childhood 
  • Consolidated Funding 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

  • Academics 
  • Charter Schools 
  • Nonpublic Schools 
  • Access & Opportunity 
  • Postsecondary Transitions 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

  • Staffing 
  • Professional Development 
  • Assessing Student Learning 
  • Governance 

Friday, June 19, 2020

  • Health & Public Health 
  • School Improvement 
  • Safety & Operations 
  • Procedures and videos 

Monday, June 22, 2020

  • Continuous Learning Plans, Template, and Example 
  • Expanded Planning Tool