Tennessee Public Schools to Stay Closed for Rest of School Year, Bill Lee Recommends


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said at a press conference Wednesday that, per his recommendation, the state’s public schools will remain closed through the end of this current school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, meanwhile, said schools would reopen for the next school year and that students will enter their new grades.

Lee said he had asked Schwinn to convene a COVID-19 Child Well-Being Task Force. Lee said that task force would support state and local leaders and local communities as they help students after their extended time away from their classrooms.

“We want to make sure that there is flexibility for districts all across the state as they have critical year-end activities that they need to complete and to begin, in fact, preparing for next year. This pandemic has created many challenges for families and for teachers and for students. Classroom time has been lost. Students have lost a significant amount of learning time, and we are committed to continuing to provide resources that will keep our students engaged over the next several weeks,” Lee said.

“We have talked at length at previous briefings about those initiatives that we put in place to make sure that academics continue in our state, but time lost in the classroom also has implications beyond academics. Those implications are often the well-being of children. Schools and teachers are often the front lines in caring for students, particularly those that are in difficult situations, those that are most vulnerable, those that are most at-risk. As a state it will take all of us to ensure the safety and the well-being of our children here in the time that they are not in the structured environment of a classroom.”

Schwinn, meanwhile, said this long-term school closure affects students’ safety and well-being.

“In recent weeks we’ve been inspired by the ways our communities have come together to solve tough challenges and support one another. Schools have been working together with local partners, churches, volunteers, school-site staff and more to deliver meals, instructional lessons, and work packets to students,” Schwinn said.

“Policeman have been checking on students in their homes. Non-profits are stepping up with critical supplies and supports now more than ever before. And we know our teachers, our principals, and our superintendents are working hard to support our kids every single day.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]












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9 Thoughts to “Tennessee Public Schools to Stay Closed for Rest of School Year, Bill Lee Recommends”

  1. Wayne Forkum

    Why can’t we get real conservatives in TN.

    1. William Delzell

      What? You mean we don’t have real right-wingers in Tennessee in positions of power? Now, that’s too good to be true!

  2. Betty Duley

    I would like to ask Schwinn what the teachers have been doing during this time. It’s my understanding they are being paid – sort of like a paid vacation. They should be filling some of the holes. Perhaps have summer school for students who are clearly not ready to just move to the next grade thus making a lousy “education” system even worse. Hospitals and doctors are doing telemedicine. Do teachers not know how to do Zoom? Can’t there be a virtual classroom? How did we all get bullied into more pay and days off for one of the biggest failures in American history – the current public school system? And they will unashamedly be asking for more.

    1. 83ragtop50

      We get bullied into it because the school boards are loaded with ex-educators who are primarily liberals who lack real business exposure AND we have county commissions that bow their knees to these almighty school boards. Because it is “for the children”. Then to top it off Bill Lee digs deep to find a screaming liberal to head up the state education. What a disaster. I want my a refund of a large portion of my property tax – the part used to fund education because I am not getting what is being paid for.

  3. Angelito

    This only affects the small percentage of students who actually learn something in public schools. For them, I am sad.

    But the vast majority of students learn little and their schools are publicly funded daycares and detention centers. This is what liberal education theories have brought to the table.

    1. William Delzell

      Home schooling may sound good, but only if the parents themselves have the academic expertise to teach their children all the academic courses they would need for accreditation. Sadly, most parents who support home-schooling are more educationally deficient than most public school teachers.

    2. Ron Welch

      Right Angelito, my neighbor who just retired as a public school teacher and has a doctorate, said that education was actually stifled by being forced to “teach-to-test” . In-depth and expanded teaching was greatly hindered by this top down imposition. As with other endeavors, educational choice and diversity with competition among public, private and home education produces better and superior results.

  4. rick

    Governor Lee has been a total disappointment from day 1. Totally unqualified to lead this state. A one term governor at best with no political future.

    1. Ron Welch

      Agreed rick, I suspect his allowing himself to be managed and controlled. At least he’s not being an outrageous authoritarian like some of the so called “liberal” governors.