Tennessee Senate passes bill giving governor authority to require all schools offer in-person learning

Keeping Schools Safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On Monday, the Tennessee Senate approved legislation giving the governor the authority to issue an executive order requiring all schools to offer in-person learning.

Senate Bill 103, sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), passed with a vote of 27-5.

“This is a victory for students and parents as every Tennessee family deserves the choice of in-person learning,” said Sen. Kelsey in a statement released Monday afternoon. “Allowing students to return to the classroom is long overdue as we have many students, especially low-income students, who are struggling this year and falling behind their peers. No one is saying that the governor should force students back into an atmosphere which they feel is unsafe. For those parents who want their children back into school, let’s follow the science, and the science says it’s safe.”

The bill also grants school boards more independence regarding whether their schools should be open or closed to in-person learning during a public emergency, unless the governor has issued a statewide order. School boards can delegate the authority to the director of schools under an amendment added to the legislation.

“Mandated directives should only come from elected leaders who are accountable to the people they serve,” said Kelsey.  “I am very pleased that the Senate has approved this legislation and look forward to seeing it passed by House and enacted into law.” 

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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