TDOE to allow schools to request virtual learning waivers

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) –With the surge in covid-19 cases showing no signs of slowing, schools are struggling to continue in-person learning.

Tennessee Education Commissioner, Dr. Penny Schwinn, made the announcement that she will consider waivers that are related to remote instruction in order to allow students affected by covid-19 isolations or quarantines to participate in remote learning. 

“This is not a rubber stamp process. This isn’t just because you submit a waiver it will be granted. It’s up to the district to provide that information at the school or classroom level that shows there is not a reasonable way that they can maintain in-person instruction,” says Commissioner Schwinn. 

Last Thursday and Friday, Cleveland City Schools closed due to staffing shortages and Hamilton County Schools closed 5 of their schools for high covid-19 infection rates.

Governor Bill Lee says the objective is still to keep students inside the classroom. 

 “The plan is to continue to have in-person learning. Partly because we saw just how devastating the learning loss impact was when we went remote so we want to do everything we can to keep that from happening again,” says Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.

The waivers can be applied for but will only be used as a last resort.

“It’s about saying We are at a point where it is not possible to safely have students inside the building and that we have such a high quarantine or isolation population that we need to do something different and we don’t have a more robust set of adults within our larger district community that could be deployed to help,” says Commissioner Scwhinn. 

The Tennessee Education waivers will be reviewed at 9 am, noon and 3 pm daily will only be granted on a case by case basis.

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