All Tennessee public schools will remain closed through at least April 24 even as education leaders are partnering with PBS to deliver alternative learning options to homebound students.
Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn made the school announcement at a press conference last Tuesday. Starting April 6, PBS will offer some television-based learning content produced in a partnership with the state, Schwinn said. They are working on radio versions also, she said, acknowledging some students do not have internet access at home.
Lee said, “We want our kids to be able to continue to learn through the extension of the deadline.”
The Tennessee Department of Education said its agreement with the state’s six PBS stations will deliver daily instructional content for students who are homebound.
Tennessee’s six PBS stations — WNPT Nashville, East Tennessee PBS, WCTE Upper Cumberland, WKNO Memphis, West TN PBS, and Chattanooga WTCI — will deliver two hours of programming with high-quality instructional content from 10 a.m. to noon. Four hours of content will also be streamed overnight, which viewers can watch live or record.
Nashville Public Television says it has a schedule at wnpt.org/schedule.
The content will be developed and provided by Tennessee educators in partnership with the DOE, the department said.
“Families and students are hungry for content right now, and we are grateful our local stations have stepped up to help fill this need,” Schwinn said in a statement.
This statewide partnership builds on the work many of Tennessee’s public TV stations have already been doing with local districts to provide instructional programming during school closures.
“This new partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education will work to meet our shared mission of ensuring every child is inspired and educated, regardless of their circumstances,” said Becky Magura, President & CEO, WCTE Cookeville.
Rutherford County Schools says it will continue offering food for kids during the shutdown. More information is at rcshools.net.
The district said that per federal law, it is not requiring students to complete assignments because not everyone has equal online access at home. There are optional online resources available, with links provided on the district’s website.
RCS said that as of last week, it had not changed the graduation schedule. Each school will notify parents and students if they change prom plans.
Also, RCS said it is waiting on guidance from DOE about the TNReady tests. The state is asking for a federal waiver to opt out. The district is waiting on news about the ACT and SAT also.
Murfreesboro City Schools says it also has online options for parents, with links at its website at cityschools.net. Students have used programs called Lexia and iReady throughout the school year and should be able to login still.
Childmind.org has resources for parents to talk about the coronavirus pandemic with their parents.
The district’s website has more information about the CHOW buses which provide feeding programs.