April 20, 2020
As our schools, economy, and life in general moves at a rapidly different pace than one month ago, TSS is keeping our finger on the pulse of education-related COVID-19 changes and want to keep you as up-to-date as possible.
Last week, Governor Bill Lee extended his stay-at-home order, which requires Tennesseans to remain home unless they are carrying out essential activities and non-essential businesses to stay closed. This order is in effect until April 30, 2020. All non-emergency dental and non-essential medical procedures are postponed until April 30 as well.
As of last Wednesday, Governor Bill Lee has called on Tennessee schools to remain closed through the end of the school year. Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn is working to create a COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force to address the implications of students losing time in the classroom as well as providing support and opportunities for students during this time. To receive further guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE), check out their toolkit for families here.
Additionally, the governor has launched 15 drive-through testing sites for COVID-19 last weekend and the weekend of May 2-3, regardless of symptoms you may be experiencing. If you feel sick and want to get tested, the option is available. Find the testing sites here.
With the governor announcing his recommendation for schools to remain closed for the remainder of the school year, it’s important for parents and guardians to have access to trusted resources while students learn at home.
Through our Tristar Reads Spring Edition, we hope to bring you helpful resources and the most up-to-date news on all things COVID-19 as it pertains to education and education-related updates. Click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
By subscribing to our newsletters, you’ll be in-the-know with all things Tristar Reads, which is our annual summer reading scholarship program and it kicks off on May 1st. Those who sign up during the month of April have the opportunity to win a free book in the mail also, so don’t wait!
With Tristar Reads less than a month away from kick-off, we are happy to welcome our friends from the Tennessee General Assembly to read books aloud from their Facebook page. We’re excited to begin our summer reading scholarship program by inviting others to read with us! Follow us on Facebook to catch all our guest readers including Senator Bill Powers, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and more. Get the schedule for next week below:
Monday, April 27: Rep. Vincent Dixie is reading at 10 AM.
Rep. Chris Hurt is reading at 1 PM.
Tuesday, April 28: Rep. Kirk Haston is reading at 10 AM.
Sen. Dawn White is reading at 1 PM.
Wednesday, April 29: Rep. Rick Tillis is reading at 10 AM.
Sen. Bo Watson is reading at 1 PM.
Thursday, April 30: Rep. Scott Cepicky is reading at 10 AM.
Friday, May 1: Rep. London Lamar is reading at 10 AM.
*Note: All times are in Central Standard Time.
Last week, the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) announced its partnership with the Tennessee STEM Innovative Network (TSIN) so that students learning at home would have access to STEM-related content. Through the STE(A)M Resource Hub, students can engage in three weekly challenges that center around design activities, critical thinking, and career exploration. These activities are ideal for students grades 3-12, but younger students are invited to participate as well with parental guidance. Explore the STE(A)M Resource Hub here and use the hashtags to join the social conversation.
Your voice is critical. Please take our COVID-19 Educational Impact Survey today and give us your input on how COVID-19 is affecting your student and/or community. Our aim is to use your feedback to respond with relevant information as well as to inform our policy work with legislators to ensure Tennesseans have what they need to succeed during this time. Please feel free to send this to your friends and family and we hope to be a valuable resource to you and your community.
The State Board of Education held a special electronic convening on April 9th at 2 PM to discuss and vote on emergency rules regarding K-12 graduation requirements for Tennessee’s high school seniors in response to the public health crisis.
As a result of that meeting, new emergency rules were adopted to help guide Tennessee districts while schools are having to adjust to the global pandemic. These rules allow high school seniors to graduate on time, student grades to be calculated, and student teachers to obtain temporary licensing despite disruptions to the school year.
Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, noted that “The HOPE scholarship looks at the full breadth of a student’s academic experience, which is eight semesters of high school. The actions of the board today only impact the last six weeks of that experience. That is a helpful perspective.”