Gov. Lee creates task force to focus on child well-being during pandemic

Bill Lee
Posted at 7:28 AM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 10:09:24-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With class out for the rest of the school year, a group is being tasked with making sure students are okay at home. Governor Bill Lee announced the creation of the Child Well-Being Task Force.

Often times teachers serve as the first line of defense when it comes to students who may have a difficult situation at home. With kids not going back to school, that means there are fewer people to make sure nothing will happen to them.

"Time lost in the classroom also has implications beyond academics," said Governor Lee at his Wednesday press conference. "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."

State and local leaders will work together to check on kids as they spend time away from the classroom. In the next few weeks, this task force will develop a strategy to support communities and give them guidance on how to go about checking on students.

The state education commissioner says this effort will require a lot of help, and people coming together.

“Our vision is that every Tennessee community, schools together with community partners, volunteers, churches, non profits, districts staff have the creative thinking, the know-how and partnerships, energy and commitment to children to lean-into this challenge and to serve all of our students to the best possible ability‪,” Commissioner Penny Schwann said.‬

So far, the state hasn't announced who will be on this task force, or when they'll start their work.


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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.