MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools announced Wednesday that its schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year, following the governor’s recommendation.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced his recommendation Wednesday that all public schools in Tennessee will remain closed through the rest of the current school year.
“Shelby County Schools (SCS) shares Governor Bill Lee’s concerns and caution to guard the health of students, teachers, and families during this pandemic,” Superintendent Joris Ray said in a statement.
The district initially closed schools on March 13. The original closure order ran through March 30, but was extended indefinitely.
Shelby County Schools is Tennessee’s largest school district, serving more than 100,00 students in 200 schools in Memphis and the surrounding county.
The Achievement School District, the state-run district that operates or oversees several schools in Memphis, also announced it would close through the school year.
Lee announced what many had expected and surrounding states had already done, but he didn’t make the school closing a mandate, just a recommendation.
That means its up to local school districts to decide if they will follow Lee’s recommendation.
“Our department of education will work with local leaders we want to make sure that there is flexibility for districts all across the state … as they have critical activities they need to complete and to begin for next year,” Lee said.
After the Governor’s recommendation Wednesday, the Shelby County Schools Superintendent released a “Roadmap to Continuous Learning,” a plan for teachers to continue their focus on academics.
State Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn is launching a COVID-19 Task Force to work with local communities to check on students’ well being while they are not under school guidance.
The governor says he will be working with the legislature to determine what the school calendar could look like next year, and he will be talking to the federal government about providing more funding for education.
On Wednesday, coronavirus cases in the state passed 6,000, as the state reported 6,079 total cases and 135 deaths.