NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Schools across Middle Tennessee are dealing with quarantines and closures as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
Rutherford County Schools will be closed on Friday due to staffing issues stemming from the coronavirus.
Sumner County Schools says they'll close from Sept. 7 to 10 to stop the "community spread of COVID-19 among students and staff."
Right now, schools do not have the option to shift to all-virtual instruction.
Districts could offer it last year through what was called “continuity of learning plans” but this year, that process can only happen if four conditions are met.
- The governor declaring a state of emergency
- That state of emergency disrupts traditional school operations
- The school provides notice of intent to implement the continuity of learning plans
- The Tennessee Department of Education grants permission
New guidance from Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn does allow for individual classrooms or schools to close and shift to remote learning. However, school districts must apply to the state for that option in a waiver and it must be approved by the commissioner.
The state’s top education official wants students to keep participating in in-person learning but explained how some schools could move to remote learning.
The waivers are only approved for up to seven days at a time.
“If they want to do that, as soon as the waiver is granted, they’ll be able to transition from using a stockpile day to a remote day effective as soon as that waiver is granted,” Dr. Schwinn said.
Previous guidance was that if a school had to close because of COVID, they would have to use an inclement weather or stockpile day.
Metro Nashville Public Schools says the process to get those waivers approved will be heavily scrutinized as a measure of last resort as they’ve seen other districts’ waivers denied.
Last week Metro Schools had 3,800 students quarantined or isolated and 535 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.