NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to press on, some school districts have been forced to close.
Recently, the Tennessee Department of Education said it is considering virtual learning waivers for schools and classrooms to make a temporary shift to remote learning. The waivers do not apply to entire school districts.
Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a letter detailing the waivers, she expects them to be narrowly applied "to preserve in-person learning wherever practicable."
Since Monday, TDOE has gotten 14 formal waiver requests.
According to the department, three of them do not require waivers. Two of those that do not require waivers because all individual students could be quarantined making the waiver unnecessary. The other case was because instruction was not provided.
TDOE said there were 11 eligible requests:
- 8 approved
- 2 denied
- 1 partially approved
One was denied because there were no staff shortages, and half the students could attend school. The second had enough teachers for in-person teaching and 92% of students were still in person, according to the department.
Recently, eight school districts have had to temporarily close or announced plans to do so. They include: Coffee, Sumner, Wilson, Rutherford, Overton, Warren, Stewart and Lebanon Special Schools.
TENNESSEE COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS
For the second day in a row, Tennessee set a record for the number of patients hospitalized due to COVID.
Overnight data from the Tennessee Department of Health shows there are now 3,501 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Tennessee. That's an increase of 160 patients from a day earlier, the largest one-day increase of the pandemic.
Seventy-nine of those hospitalized are pediatric patients.
This is the second day of record-setting hospitalization numbers. On Wednesday, the state reported 3,338 COVID-19 patients were being hospitalized. The previous record was set in January.
* Phil Williams contributed to this report.