Officials with Williamson County Schools have announced campuses throughout the county will close through April 3.
"We know our employees and families have many questions," WCS officials said in a social media post. "We will communicate additional information with our staff later this week. Also, we will continue to communicate with families regarding any additional instructional services that may be provided during the time we are closed."
Updated, March 16, 12 p.m. Gov. Lee urges statewide school closures through end of March, FSSD to close through at least April 3
Officials with Franklin Special School District have announced that schools in the district will be closed through at least April 3. The closure includes before- and after-school activities, all athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, weekend events and all facility use by outside groups, according to a social media post from FSSD.
Classes are scheduled to reconvene April 6, however Director of Schools David Snowden said in the announcement that date is tentative and will be reevaluated as it gets closer to April.
"We understand that extended school closure will create hardship for many of our families," Snowden said. "Please know that we are doing our very best to make decisions that will help care for all of our students, teachers, staff members, families and community members through this time."
In the coming days, the district will communicate plans to provide grab-and-go breakfast and lunch service for students as well as distribute weekly learning packets for students to continue education at home.
"We are so grateful for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this difficult situation," Snowden said. "We will get through this challenge together. Together, we are #fssdstrong."
Original post, March 16, 11 a.m.: Gov. Lee urges statewide school closures through end of March
Gov. Bill Lee is urging all school districts in Tennessee to close "as soon as practically possible" to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, according to a statement released March 16. Lee said all schools should be closed by March 20 and remain closed through March 31.
“As the response to COVID-19 evolves, I urge every school district in Tennessee to close as soon as practically possible, with all schools expected to close by Friday, March 20, 2020 at the latest,” Lee said in a statement. “Schools should remain closed through March 31, 2020 to further mitigate the spread of this infectious disease and we will issue further guidance prior to March 31.”
Superintendents and local leadership will have the administration's support to determine dates for closure this week, according to Lee. Ahead of school closures, the Tennessee Department of Education set up a hotline for district leaders open on weekdays from 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at 629-888-5898.
“We thank Governor Lee for encouraging school districts to close through the end of the month in order to protect the health and well-being of Tennessee’s students, teachers, and entire communities across the state,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a statement. "The Department of Education team has been working overtime to communicate with districts and issue guidance to help them make plans and decisions to ensure a continuation of academic instruction as well as critical meals and other services for students during times of school closure.”
State officials will issue additional guidance regarding future closures prior to March 31, according to Lee.
“We understand the tremendous burden school closure places on families and we will continue to work with both the federal government and school districts to ensure we continue essential supports like meals for students in need," Lee said. "Every Tennessean has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I urge Tennesseans to be quick to help neighbors as new needs surface with the closure of schools.”
As of March 16, the Tennessee Department of Health has reported 39 cases of coronavirus in Tennessee, including 17 cases in Davidson County and 14 cases in Williamson County.
Metro Nashville Public Schools, Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District are closed through March 20 for spring break.
For updated information on the virus, visit https://tn.gov/health.
This story is still developing. Check back for updates.