Gov. Lee urges schools to start on time
By: James Clark -- Editor for the Southern Standard
Gov. Bill Lee
The Aug. 12 start date for Warren County Schools remains safe if advice from the Tennessee governor is heeded.
Gov. Bill Lee said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference he encourages all schools to open on their scheduled start dates.
“We fully support reopening our schools with in-person learning being the best option,” said Gov. Lee. “School reopening won’t be easy, but we have to remember this generation of kids.”
Lee said his Child Well-Being Task Force has explored the long-term risks of keeping students at home and evidence suggests going to school is better for their development.
Additionally, Gov. Lee said he would sign an executive order later on Tuesday to allow for contact sports to resume. He said his office has worked with the TSSAA and football and girls soccer should start as scheduled.
Dr. Lisa Piercy with the Tennessee Department of Health said a child’s physical health benefits most when in school. She said student health includes proper nutrition, social activity, mental healthcare and physical healthcare.
“Schools are also an important place to identify abuse and neglect,” said Dr. Piercy, who added there will be COVID-19 cases which appear in classrooms, but that schools “have a detailed plan to mitigate the spread.”
Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said reopening schools is a major challenge impacting almost 1 million students statewide. She said the top priorities remain to have “safe and healthy schools for all students and staff and to provide a high-quality education.”
When asked about the school systems which have delayed the start of school, or which have announced the school year will start with online instruction only, Gov. Lee said, “We believe in-person learning is best for students.”