TN Dept. of Education on back to school: Consider kits for students, avoid community supplies


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Department of Education released guidance for school systems to aid in the reopening process amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest of which is a video series showing what the classroom might look like in the fall.

“As this is an evolving situation, the department will continue to post updates about reopening guidance for districts, as new information is available,” the state website reads atop the web page listing several resources for schools and ultimately, parents as well.

Several different school reopening toolkits have been introduced by the department, including on some of the following topics:

  • School nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Special populations
  • Finance
  • Technology
  • Well-being and mental health
  • Counseling
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Post-secondary transition
  • Governance
  • Physical health
  • Staffing
  • School improvement

The latest guidance offered centered around classroom layout in the fall when students possibly return to a somewhat traditional way of learning.

Here is what those classrooms might look like:

The department also listed a “Preparedness ‘Cheat Sheet,'” that include the following:

• Physical Space: examples include limited public access on campus, strict delivery procedures, controlled entry/exit, one-way foot traffic patterns, clear drop-off procedures with staggered start
times, grid and spaced seating marked lines, open space partitions, plastic guards
• Facilities: examples include no-touch bathrooms, no-touch trash cans, hand sanitizer stations, no vending machines or other “high-touch” objects, decommissioned drinking fountains, airflow
considerations, elimination of shared supplies, adjusted material distribution/collection
• Transportation: examples include increase bus routes to increase social distancing, sanitize after each route, increased traffic control for increased foot and parent drop-off
• Meals: examples include food fully-boxed, individually wrapped cutlery and seasoning, staggered meals and independent seating, meals in classrooms, no sharing of food or drink, no cloth face
coverings while eating or drinking
• Health: examples include physical distancing, cloth face coverings worn, promotional campaigns and signage to increase adherence to distancing, staff and student training, reflective
attendance policies, sick and isolation leave, case notification, a system for contact tracing
support, closure policies, beginning-of-day screener, isolation facility on every campus,
identified health partner, regular inspections, after illness return-to-school policy

News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais got reaction from a Johnson City Schools leader to the videos showing just how challenging it’s going to be to bring 20 to 30 students into one room while still social distancing.

Supervisor of instruction at Johnson City Schools Roger Walk said the school system is working toward a plan:

Beth Simpson is the parent of two students in Johnson City Schools. Here’s what she thought about the guidance from the state:

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