NewsNewsChannel 5 Investigates


COVID-19 outbreaks close nine Tennessee schools as reopenings continue, state says

Posted at 5:52 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 21:40:48-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nine Tennessee schools are now closed to in-person learning statewide because of COVID-19 outbreaks inside their buildings, state officials said Tuesday.

In Bedford County, Shelbyville Central High School and Liberty Elementary School have now moved to virtual learning, according to the state.

In Marshall County, Cornersville High School and Marshall County High are closed.

In Maury, the state says, Baker Elementary is closed due to a COVID outbreak.

There are also schools closed in Gibson County, Henderson County, McNairy County and Lenoir City.

It comes as the state still has not found a way to be more transparent about when COVID first emerges in our schools.

"The best point of contact right now is the school district itself," Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey told reporters.

"The school district is empowered from their board attorney to share any information they want to do."

The health commissioner said her department still is not clear that it can legally disclose when those cases first emerge so that parents can keep a closer eye on their children.

But, in some communities, districts are only telling families if they have documentation that their children were within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more.

Many experts say the virus can actually spread much farther in a closed classroom.

So how are other families supposed to know?

Piercey's advice was not very promising.

"If the school board and the school itself doesn't want to disclose that information, I would suppose then that the other information channels are less official - through social media and word of mouth," Piercey said.

"There would not be any other official source of that at this time. Those are exactly the avenues we are pursuing."

Recently, NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked the commissioner if the state was asking federal regulators for permission to disclose such information.

She said they were not.

But now, both she and the governor say they are having those conversations.

As to how long it might take to get answers, they said, it could still be two weeks.