Bradley County and Cleveland City Schools will comply with the recommendation Gov. Bill Lee has given for all schools to remain closed through April 24.
Lee made the request Tuesday at his daily COVID-19 press conference. The school districts released a joint statement on the decision, as they have since Tennessee saw its first case of COVID-19.
"Bradley County and Cleveland City Schools will adhere to this recommendation and schools will remain closed. All school-related activities that were scheduled through this date will be canceled or postponed. Individual schools will make announcements concerning events, as needed," the statement said.
The release went on to address other events, like prom and graduation, which have either been canceled or postponed until further notice.
"We are in the midst of extremely trying times and know that our seniors are anxious when thinking about events such as graduation and prom. Please know that both systems are fully committed to ensuring our seniors have a true sense of completion from high school, complete with special senior moments. We are committed to making sure these events take place, even if dates must be moved. Thank you for your continued patience. As the situation continues to evolve, the community will be updated as decisions are made."
Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn released a statement approving of the decision shortly after the press conference.
“This is an unprecedented time for our country and state and we thank Governor Lee for his leadership in protecting the health and wellbeing of Tennessee's students and teachers. We know school closures represent a significant disruption for families and students and the recommendation to extend them has not been considered lightly," she said.
“The Department of Education team will continue to work closely with our districts as they serve students and families during this time. We are committed to doing whatever we can to support our district leaders as they make the necessary decisions to ensure students can continue to access critical meal and other services, as well as receive high-quality academic instruction while they are out of school.
“Even in the midst of these challenges, we have seen an incredible outpouring from districts, schools, and teachers going above and beyond to ensure students continue to have access to food and have the support they need to continue learning. This is a huge testament to our resilience as a state and the dedication of our educators and leaders."
As the decision to keep schools closed was made, Tennessee was reporting over 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. Nationwide, there are 54,069 active cases, with 802 deaths and 354 recoveries.
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