Gov. Lee leaves stay-at-home order, school closings questions unanswered

Local Coronavirus Coverage

Lee closes out his last press conference of the week without answering whether schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Closing the week with the last press COVID-19 briefing for the week, Tennessee officials didn’t provide any insight for the future of Tennessee schools.

Gov. Bill Lee’s current orders mandate the closure of Tennessee schools through April 24. A model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation places a surge in Tennessee in mid-April, with April 24 landing just on the other side of the curve, according to data on Thursday.

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn spoke for several minutes Thursday, but neither she nor Lee made an announcement concerning the state’s plans for schools for the rest of the academic year.

“What we’re most interested in is making the right decision at the right time,” Lee said, a point he’s stressed through the course of the pandemic.

In using models, Lee and Commissioner of Health Dr. Lisa Piercey pointed out that models and the data used in them change daily.

Piercey characterized models as “predictions based on usually historical data,” that can vary widely. She continued by saying that the most important data is the “data on the ground,” and cautioned citizens to “look at all the different models” and not rely on them exclusively.

“I can guarantee you that every single day…that all the different hospital administrators know exactly what their resources are that day and what they can leverage if they need to surge,” Piercey said.

Lee offered no update to his stay-at-home order either – that order, mandated last week, ends on Tuesday. Lee promised he would decide whether or not he will extend the order by Tuesday.

He announced Executive Order 25, which extends existing suspensions on dental service providers and all other elective procedure providers to preserve personal protective equipment, which was outlined in Executive Order 18.

Lee’s next press conference will be Monday at 4 p. m.

You can watch the entire news conference on our WJHL Facebook Page below.

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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