Governor to decide if Tennessee schools will reopen this academic year

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will soon announce a decision on if school districts will reopen across the state for the remainder of the school year.

The governor had previously called on schools to close through April 24.

The Tennessee Education Association President Beth Brown told WKRN should be commended for how quickly they have transitioned from the classroom to online learning.

Brown described it as “crisis teaching” amid the pandemic, emphasizing educators are heartbroken to be without their students while recognizing health and safety must take priority.

For many, returning to school after the extended closure would be like starting the school year over.

“I think we could be best served if we start thinking ahead to next year. And having districts work with educators in collaboration, to think about the best way to bring students into a new school year, thinking about lost instructional time, lost learning time, how can we ease students back into a traditional learning experience? How can we meet the emotional and mental health needs of those students as they will be returning after a serious crisis in our country?”

Tennessee Education Association President Beth Brown

Many districts are already making plans for what the fall semester is going to look like in this “new normal.”

“There is no way you can bring students and educators back into our school building and do any sort of social distancing measures, that is absolutely impossible, whether you are teaching kindergartners who have no concept of personal space or you are in a high school classroom like mine and you have 30 to 35 students in a single classroom, it is just impossible,” explained Brown.

Brown added the decision on if schools will remain closed is ultimately a district decision. Gov. Lee is expected to announce his decision Wednesday.

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