The target date for schools to reopen has been pushed back further amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has made several announcements recently regarding the state’s attempts to combat the coronavirus, one of which is that he is extending the statewide school closure recommendation until April 24.

Since the announcement was made on Tuesday, McMinn County Schools, Athens City Schools, Etowah City Schools and Meigs County Schools have all noted that they will follow the guidance and remain closed at least until then.

At the end of last week, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation that waived both testing and attendance requirements for the remainder of this school year in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Tennessee Department of Education has also secured a partnership with the state’s PBS stations to deliver daily instructional content for Tennessee students during COVID-19 school closures. This partnership will provide all students with access to daily learning opportunities right in their own homes. 

Staring April 6, Tennessee’s six PBS stations — WNPT Nashville, East Tennessee PBS, WCTE Upper Cumberland, WKNO Memphis, West TN PBS, and Chattanooga WTCI— will deliver two hours of programming with instructional content from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Four hours of content will also be streamed overnight, which viewers can watch live or record. 

The content will be developed and provided by Tennessee educators in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education. 

“This is an incredible example of Tennesseans coming together to support kids,” said Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are so thrilled to be partnering with PBS stations across the state to make high-quality instructional content available to all students so they can continue learning during school closures. Families and students are hungry for content right now and we are grateful our local stations have stepped up to help fill this need.” 

This statewide partnership builds on the work many of Tennessee’s public TV stations have already been doing with local districts to provide instructional programming during school closures.  

“Tennessee’s Public Television Stations are committed to serving the citizens of Tennessee and look forward to working with the Tennessee Department of Education during this challenging time to provide instructional educational programs to the students of our state,” said Vickie Lawson, chairman of Tennessee Public Television Council and president of East Tennessee PBS. “This partnership is another example of Tennessee’s Public Television Stations’ willingness to serve when needed.” 

For additional Tennessee Department of Education guidance related to COVID-19, visit https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus.html

Among Lee’s other announcements was that he is mobilizing the Tennessee National Guard in order to “assist with expanded testing efforts – 250 personnel, including 150 medical personnel, are preparing to assist 35 remote assessment facilities in rural areas.”

The filing deadline for franchise and excise taxes has also been delayed until July 15 and he has “directed the Department of Commerce and Insurance to issue guidance to insurance providers requesting as much flexibility as possible for employers and individuals during this crisis.”

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