Guide: Back to school in Tennessee

The last thing you’ll want to do is feel you and your child are unprepared for getting back to school.
Image courtesy of MGN.
Image courtesy of MGN.(MGN)
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 11:37 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The summer months are beginning to wind down and with that, students across the Volunteer State are heading back to school.

Submit your back-to-school photos here

So, before you and your students return to school, here’s a look at what you’ll need to know:

When do students return to school?

What to know about free and reduced-price meals:

Schools should send out free- and reduced-price meal applications. However, if you haven’t received one, you’ll need to contact your child’s school directly.

“All children in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Families First can get free meals regardless of your income,” the Tennessee Department of Education said. “Also, your children can receive free- or reduced-price meals if your household’s gross income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.”

For more FAQs on free- and reduced-price meals, click here.

How to get your child help for their mental health:

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has an array of professionals to provide numerous services for young people. These services range from infant and early childhood, children and youth and young adults.

For the full scope for each age range from the state department, click here.

How to find and get your child involved in extended learning and afterschool programs:

There are a number of extended learning and afterschool programs you can get your child involved in, but, you may not know where to look.

Here are a few places:

More things to know about getting your children ready to go back to school:

Tennessee students might need these back-to school immunizations:

Here’s what parents need to know, according to the Tennessee Department of Health:

– Kindergarteners and other children enrolling in a Tennessee school for the first time must provide schools with a complete, official Tennessee Immunization Certificate before classes begin. The certificate must be signed by a qualified health care provider or verified by the state’s Immunization Information System.

– All current students entering seventh grade are required to give the school a limited official Tennessee Immunization Certificate showing they have had a booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, also called a Tdap booster.

– Immunization requirements for college entry vary by institution, but teens who have had all recommended vaccines including their meningitis booster, after they turn 16, will meet all state-run college’s requirements. Immunizations are available from most health care providers across the state, including county health departments.

The complete list of Tennessee childcare and school immunization requirements can be found on the health department’s website.

Doctors urge parents to get kids ready for school now

Governor Lee announces tax holiday on back-to-school items

According to a release from Governor Lee’s office, the state and local sales tax on clothing, school supplies, and computers will be suspended from midnight on Friday, July 28, through Sunday, July 30. The traditional tax holiday is expected to save Tennesseans up to 9.75% on their back-to-school items.

Metro Schools prepares for TCAP tutoring programs

Gov. Lee signs school safety bill aimed at preventing school shootings

Up-close look at new active shooting training to improve school safety in Tennessee

Tennessee students should be better protected next school year in an active shooter situation due to new training requirements.

A new state law goes into effect July 1, that requires additional training specific to active shooters for every officer working in a Tennessee school.

If you’re wanting more resources whether you’re an educator, the family of a student or a student, click here for more from the Tennessee Department of Education.