HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — School districts across Middle Tennessee are scrambling as COVID-19 cases surge in students and staff.
At least eight school districts have announced closures for this week or next.
- Coffee County out 8/30 - 9/3
- Stewart County out 8/30 - 9/3
- Warren County 8/30 - 9/3
- Wilson County out 8/30 - 9/3
- Overton County out 9/2 - 9/3
- Lebanon Special Schools out 9/3
- Rutherford County out 9/3
- Sumner County out 9/7 - 9/10
42,599 school-age children tested positive for COVID-19 in Tennessee in August.
Sumner County parent Amanda Rinne is concerned not every family will take COVID mitigation school closures seriously.
"I think people are going to see this as a time to take an extended vacation," Amanda Rinne said. "I think they're going to take potentially whatever virus they have to somewhere else and then they're going to come back with something."
Rinne said if Tennessee wants to keep kids in school, the state needs to try harder to keep kids safe in school buildings.
"I would love to see a mask mandate. We used that last year, I don't know why we're not using it anymore. The pandemic is clearly not over," Rinne said.
While Rinne would prefer her 7-year-old learn remotely again this year, she's not sure how her son will benefit next week from time at home. New Tennessee rules require only in-person instruction this academic year, so her son and other students cannot learn from home.
School districts can request a waiver from the Tennessee Department of Education to temporarily shift to virtual learning, but only for an individual classroom or school.
As of Wednesday, the department had fully approved eight requests out of eleven eligible applications.