Tennessee’s Department of Education says it is not issuing new guidance to schools, despite Gov. Bill Lee’s newest pleas to mask up and let employees work from home.
This comes as school districts are debating how they’ll return from winter break. Rutherford County administrators won’t decide until early January whether the district adopts a hybrid model. Metro Nashville Public Schools has announced it will start next semester virtually in light of surging coronavirus cases in Nashville.
The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, meanwhile, warned parents there could be more remote days and said it’s asking the state for clearer guidance on how to proceed.
But a state education department spokesperson tells WPLN News that the newest executive order doesn’t apply to schools. And Gov. Bill Lee has made it clear: He wants children in school buildings after the break.
“We do not want the semester to be delayed,” he told reporters Monday. “We all know how important it is that kids are in-person in school.”
That means teachers will be there too, even though some districts have found a way to make remote school work this semester. High schoolers in Metro Schools haven’t set foot in a building the entire school year.
The governor says that if people must work in-person, they should mask up. “We want you to work safely, and that’s what we’ve been doing with teachers throughout this pandemic,” he said.
However, the state has not required teachers to wear masks. That decision is left up to individual school districts, some of which have declined to require face coverings for students and staff.