Tennessee schools asked to close for remainder of school year

Posted at 1:26 PM, Apr 15, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is recommending all schools statewide remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year.

Lee made the announcement during his daily update on Wednesday, April 15.

The briefing is scheduled for 3 p.m. Watch below:

Districts will make the final decision to close for the remainder of the school year. All districts have followed Lee's previous recommendations to remain closed due to the virus.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper confirmed Wednesday morning that there is no official reopening date for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

All Tennessee schools first closed by March 20 in response to Lee’s recommendation on March 16, about two weeks after the state’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.

Many districts in Middle Tennessee chose to close their doors before Gov. Lee made the announcement in March.

Until Wednesday, it had been unclear when or if students will head back to school.

Lee's recommendation was met with support by Tennessee Department of Education Penny Schwinn.

Schwinn also said the state is creating a COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force.

"Children being out of school for such a long time has significant implications for a child's wellbeing, and this poses a different kind of challenge for all of us, as communities and as a state," Schwinn said. "There is critical work ahead, and I am honored to convene the COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force in the coming weeks to focus state and local leaders on the wellbeing of Tennessee’s children."

During an emergency meeting last week, the Tennessee Board of Education passed a rule that no high school students should receive a grade lower than the grade they earned in a class as of March 20.

Earlier this week, Lee announced he's extending the state's stay-at-home order until April 30.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


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.