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Lee administration backtracks, will release data on outbreaks in schools

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Posted at 7:03 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-27 00:12:41-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that the state will collect information on COVID-19 outbreaks in schools and share the data with the public.

It was a dramatic reversal from the administration's insistence last week that it would leave such decisions to each school system.

"We will give you a plan within a week of what information it is that we are going to provide -- with the intent of being more transparent so that communities know what's happening in schools with regard to COVID," Lee told reporters.

He did not commit to exactly what criteria his team would use in determining what information to make public, noting a need to protect patient privacy.

"I believe that we have to protect privacy but we also have to be transparent," the governor added.

It follows a consistent pattern for the Lee administration.

Early in the pandemic, they refused to release county-level data on the virus, later backtracking.

Later, they refused to release data on nursing home outbreaks before, again, backtracking.

"I think we have moved toward transparency every time we can, starting with patient protection and privacy," Lee said.

"I think it's been a good process."