The Tennessee Department of Education released on Wednesday its school outbreak dashboard, a day after missing a deadline to make the data public on Tuesday.
In a news release, Commissioner Penny Schwinn says the platform protects the health and privacy of students and school community members.
“This dashboard strikes an important balance in protecting student privacy while providing parents, educators, and community members with information they need to make the best possible decisions for their families,” Schwinn says.
According to the website, the majority of the school districts have opted to share information with the state agency. However, others have not, including Putnam County, which was one of the first school districts with an independent, comprehensive public dashboard.
According to the state, school districts will be “encouraged” to update their information on a weekly basis.
The department said full reporting by every district is expected by Sept. 22. Those districts with fewer than five student or staff cases won’t have to report a specific number, to protect the privacy of the people who tested positive.
The launch of the website comes a day after a date promised by the state agency. The department said that Tuesday’s delay was due to “technical difficulties with processing data across a number of school districts.”
This is the latest controversy over transparency in Gov. Bill Lee’s administration. In the last few weeks, it has reversed itself over how much information to give about COVID in schools.
Though several other states have been reporting outbreaks, Tennessee officials had been arguing that privacy laws prevent the Department of Education from giving more information.