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Pastors urge Gov. Lee to delay in-person learning for Tenn. schools

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 18:56:53-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee pastors and faith leaders called for Governor Lee to take "more robust" measures in the COVID-19 pandemic by delaying the start of in-person schooling until coronavirus cases drop to safer levels.

The governor issued his guidelines for reopening schools Tuesday, saying the decision to return to in-person instruction was made based on what is best for children.

Two pastors, a physician, and a teacher from the urged Gov. Lee to heed the voices of medical professionals to delay opening classrooms.

Dr. Stephen Heyman, a critical care pulmonologist at St Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville, said he was disappointed in the governor's approach to the pandemic.

“We’re going to have hundreds and thousands of people in this country that are going to have after-effects of this illness and right now the only tool that we have to at least start to get control of this situation is a statewide mask mandate because these counties... they’re doing things individually and they’re putting the population at risk, said Dr. Heyman. "They’re putting neighbors against neighbors because one has a business and wants them to wear a mask and the other says you’re infringing on my freedom.”

Dr. Heyman is a COVID-19 survivor and knows first-hand how serious the virus is. He shared his story with NewsChannel 5.

Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, Pastor of New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville, echoed Dr. Heyman, saying “I too believe that it takes a man of courage. [I believe] that if Governor Lee makes the decision that needs to be made, and that is to do what is in the best interest of humanity, he would not be criticized. People would stand up and applaud that courageous act. And so we implore the governor to do the right thing, do what is justice. The prophet called us to task...to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our god. That is all that we’re asking Governor Lee to do today.”

The Southern Christian Coalition is a nonpartisan grassroots organization aiming to speak up on behalf of Christians in their communities for the values of their faith.