Gov. Bill Lee and his health and education commissioners on Tuesday released a school reopening plan, after some schools have reopened and days and weeks before hundreds of others are set to.
The plan calls for infected students to isolate for 10 days and people who come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case to quarantine for 14 days.
Shortly after Alcoa City Schools reopened, a student tested positive for the virus, though Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said the disease was likely contracted outside of school.
The push for in-person learning is part of a “nationwide experiment,” Lee said, arguing that the benefits of reopening outweighed the potential negative consequences. Among the benefits of reopened schools cited by state leaders are access to food and mental health services, as well as access to learning for students without the ability to attend class virtually. Lee also said that close-contact sports would continue as scheduled.
Some teachers have protested the planned return. Lee said teachers across the state would be provided with protective and cleaning equipment and that “our expectation is that those teachers will return to work under those safety guidelines.”
Nashville school leaders still plan to start the year remotely, despite a plea from Lee.
“Our belief, along with a national belief, is that in-person learning is best for students, including in Davidson and Shelby counties,” the governor said. “We’re hopeful those districts will move toward in-person learning.”
See the full plan here.