Students return from fall break after state/local leaders make COVID-19 announcement

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 7:37 AM CDT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Students in Shelby County returned to school from fall break on Monday after some big announcements were made by state and local leaders regarding coronavirus.

While the students were away, Tennessee governor Bill Lee announced the suspension of accountability measures for schools this year. The Shelby County Health Department said schools now have full authority with COVID-19 cases.

Although the Governor suspended accountability measures, student assessments will be conducted as planned. Lee said it’s important to know where students stand academically.

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said in a statement, “We applaud the Governor’s response to temporarily suspend accountability measures for 2020-2021 school year.” Ray went on to say they owe it to students to remove the high stakes of state testing.

Last week, teachers asked Lee to issue a statewide mask mandate. Lee believed statewide mandates would be ineffective and it’s up to local officials to make that call.

Shelby County Health Department announced last week that the schools' local school boards will have the right to decide about masking and social distancing. Schools can also decide whether they open or close during a pandemic.

The Shelby County Health Department is still in charge of investigating any COVID-19 outbreaks. They also do recommend students and staff wear masks and practice social distancing.

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