Schools close to prevent the spread of COVID-19
JACKSON, Tenn. — On Monday morning, Gov. Bill Lee issued a statement urging every school district in the state to close by Friday, March 20 as a response to the spreading coronavirus pandemic.
Throughout the morning, surrounding school districts met to discuss what they planned on doing.
Jackson-Madison County School System Superintendent Ray Washington says it was something the school district already discussed doing as a health measure.
“Students may be vulnerable, but of course they do go home to, sometimes parents or guardians that may even be more vulnerable,” said Washington. “So we just have to take precautions to make sure we are doing all that we can to prevent the spread.”
With many schools already on their spring break, their time away from school will now be extended for at least two more weeks.
Jackson-Madison County Schools, Chester County Schools, Henderson County Schools, Lexington City Schools, Dyer County Schools, Dyersburg City Schools and Obion County Schools will close beginning Tuesday, until March 31.
Other schools are extending closings even longer. Schools across Gibson, Hardin and Hardeman Counties are closed until at least April 3.
With these closures comes the concern for how students plan on continuing their education, with many students lacking the tools needed for remote learning.
“Many of our students do not have Wi-Fi or access, so we’ll be putting some things out either in print that they can pick up or we can deliver,” said Washington. “We’ll have to do a combination of things to try to service all of our students.”
Teachers across the state are urged to work with parents in continuing instruction for their children and to check for any updates on schools websites.
Washington says the school board plans to meet this week on what they have planned for providing meal services during the closures.
It’s not clear at this time if the closures for schools will be extended even further.
Many universities have already extended their classes online.
Jackson State Community College recently released a statement saying they will go to an online or distance format for the remainder of the spring semester beginning Monday, March 23.
University of Tennessee also announced they will remain online for the spring semester for all UT locations.
A full list of school closings will be listed on the COVID-19 section of our website.