Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee said Monday that he wants all school districts in the state to close as soon as possible and to remain closed until the end of this month.
“As the response to COVID-19 evolves, I urge every school district in Tennessee to close as soon as practically possible, with all schools expected to close by Friday, March 20, 2020 at the latest. Schools should remain closed through March 31, 2020 to further mitigate the spread of this infectious disease and we will issue further guidance prior to March 31,” Lee said in a statement.
“Superintendents and local leadership have the full support of my administration to determine effective dates for closure this week as they evaluate what is best for families within their respective districts. We understand the tremendous burden school closure places on families and we will continue to work with both the federal government and school districts to ensure we continue essential supports like meals for students in need. Every Tennessean has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and I urge Tennesseans to be quick to help neighbors as new needs surface with the closure of schools.”
As The Tennessee Star reported, officials at public universities in Tennessee have already announced they are closing their facilities and moving to an online format.
Austin Peay State University President Alisa White announced that school officials will suspend classes until March 23 and move all classes to fully online instruction.
Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee announced his school will extend its spring break for students by one week, through Sunday, March 22. That, he said, will allow faculty time to prepare remote instructional delivery of current on-ground classes beginning Monday, March 23. Remote delivery of these classes will continue until further notice, he said.
The Star reported last week that the University of Tennessee Interim President Randy Boyd said school officials will temporarily suspend all in-person classes until further notice as a proactive measure against the coronavirus.
UT Chattanooga will suspend in-person classes until March 30, while UT Knoxville and UT Martin will suspend in-person classes until April 3. Beginning March 23 the UT Health Science Center, until further notice, will offer all face-to-face lecture classes remotely. Clinical rotations in hospitals will continue as usual.
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