Gov. Lee’s Back to School recommendations

NASHVILLE (WDEF) – Governor Bill Lee has released his recommendations for schools as they reopen their classrooms for the fall.

He is not intervening in the opening process, but he is offering guidelines on how cope with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Alcoa schools returned this week and has already recorded their first positive test.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn says that isn’t unexpected.

“There are going to be positive cases in schools… that is something that is going to happen… what is important is that we have all of these safety and health protocols in place to ensure that people have the resources they need.”

She says 145 of 147 school districts in Tennessee plan to reopen in person so far.  Shelby and Davidson Counties are the exceptions.

About a dozen of them are delaying openings.

Governor Lee said this afternoon “While districts are given the responsibility to make decisions about their own district, our belief, along with a national belief, is that in person learning is best for students.”

The Governor was asked about the quarantine recommendation for students.

Why don’t they test the entire classroom instead of relying on children to self-report when they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive?

The Governor admitted that delays in test results currently make that unworkable.. but they will consider it.

First grade teacher Kristen Morjal posted her own video today challenging the governor’s reopening plan.  “We’re creating a breeding ground for Covid-19… current reopening plans in Tennessee are NOT following CDC or even state guidelines.”

Today’s recommendations for schools are:


When to Test & Quarantine

10-Day Sick Window

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 must isolate themselves at home for 10 days from the onset of their symptoms or 10 days from the date their test was done if they never developed symptoms. Fever must be gone and they must be feeling better for at least 24 hours.


14-Day Quarantine

Anyone who has been within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for 10 minutes or more must quarantine themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they were with that person. These time periods do not change with a doctor’s note or with a negative test.

Contact Tracing

Keeping schools open for in-person instruction depends upon our ability to quickly isolate people who are sick and quarantine their close contacts.

If a child is ill, parents should not send them to school where they could infect others. If a child is diagnosed with COVID-19, parents are asked to assist the Department of Health by contacting the child’s close contacts so those individuals can quarantine at home.

If a parent is notified that their child has been in close contact of someone with COVID-19, please follow the guidelines and quarantine them at home for 14 days.

Texting Platform

Schools may be able to assist with notifying families of the need to quarantine through text messaging services. If parents receive a message from their child’s school informing you that your child needs to stay at home for 14 days, please follow those instructions.


School entry immunizations have not changed. Even if students are learning online, they still need the required immunizations to register for school. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on immunization rates: 43 percent fewer immunizations were reported during April 2020 compared to April 2019.

It is critical that children receive regular check-ups and have their immunizations up to date. Immunizations mitigate outbreaks of preventable diseases, such as the measles and whooping cough.


Categories: Education, Featured, Regional News

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