Metro Nashville Public Schools, Williamson County Schools to close until at least April 27

(Courtesy Fotolia)
(Courtesy Fotolia)

(Courtesy Fotolia)

Updated 10 a.m. March 25

Schools in both Davidson and Williamson counties will remain closed through April 24 in accordance with a recommendation from Gov. Bill Lee. Campuses in Metro Nashville Public Schools, Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District will not open until April 27, barring any additional extensions from the state.

According to MNPS Director Adrienne Battle, in addition to online learning options, the city has secured a partnership with Nashville Public Television to provide educational content for students during the day. Daily blocks of programming targeting middle and high school students will run from 10 a.m.-noon beginning April 6, according to NPT President and CEO Kevin Crane. Programming for younger children will continue to run from 6-10 a.m. WCS and FSSD have also launched online learning options.

Original post 3:18 p.m. March 24: Gov. Bill Lee calls for schools to remain closed through April 24

As the number coronavirus cases continues to rise across the state, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is extending deadlines for certain institutions to stay closed to reduce the risk of further spread.

In a press conference March 24, Lee called to schools to remain closed through April 24, an extension from his initial recommendation of April 3.

“We originally had a deadline until the end of the month and we believe that it’s important and necessary for us to extend that deadline,” he said.

According to the Tennessee Department fo Education, the state has applied for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to dismiss requirements for missed days and testing requirements.

In the meantime, Lee said the state has secured a partnership with PBS to offer instructional content on TV for children who are home during the closures.

“We’re working really hard to make sure that our kids continue to learn while we have these school closures and we will reevaluate school closures as we reevaluate this virus as it moves through our community,” Lee said.

As of March 24, the state had 667 cases, an increase of 52 new cases since yesterday. While the number of new cases has decreased from yesterday, Lee and Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercy said this should not be taken as a sign that the spread of the virus is slowing down.

“We do know that numbers will climb as we increase testing across the state," Lee said.

Lee said that residents should still practice social distancing and follow local stay-at-home orders until further notice.

“We can do a lot in state government, we can do a lot in local government, we can do a lot through the private sector, we can institute policies and reduce regulations and make it easier for each one of us to navigate through this—but at the end of the day it’s going to be up to you, every individual Tennessean to help stop the spread of this disease through Tennessee” Lee said. “You have to take personal responsibility to heed all of the guidance, all of the suggestions to take this incredibly seriously and make sure that we save the lives of our neighbors and that we limit the economic challenges that our state will face going forward.”

This story is developing, check back for updates.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.