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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Trousdale County schools have closed the book on the 2019-20 academic year, much earlier than anticipated.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said Trousdale would follow the recommendation of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who recommended in a Wednesday press conference that schools not reopen before summer vacation.

Photo courtesy of Trousdale County Schools

“To protect public health, we will continue to adhere to the advice and recommendations of the Governor and remain closed for the remainder of the school calendar,” Satterfield said in a statement. “However, it is vital that our families and community understand that long-term school closures such as COVID-19 will have significant life implications for children.”

Trousdale County’s schools have been closed since March 17 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The school system has been working on continuing education despite the closure. Last week nearly 300 Chromebooks were sent home for students in grades 9-12 to allow for optional, non-graded work. Paper & pencil classwork is also being offered, and Satterfield estimated thus far around 100 students per school were taking advantage of that option.

Teachers have been charged with contacting their students on a weekly basis to offer feedback on completed work and help determine any academic needs the student has.

“It is essential that our school district, administrators, teachers, parents, and children work collaboratively together to mitigate the potential loss of learning due to what has now become a 17-week school closure. Our teachers continue to work diligently to provide high-quality lessons that parents and students can effectively do at home. In the best interest of students, I strongly encourage parents to support their children’s education through the final week of school, May 11-15,” Satterfield added.

Additionally, the Tennessee Department of Education has developed and designed a number of resources for optional, free use by local districts. This includes school closure toolkits; three times per week superintendent calls; instructional, daily programming on PBS and companion teacher, student and family guides; free access for all families to early childhood platform ReadyRosieSchoolMealFinder website for families to locate meal services; a STE(A)M Resource Hub; as well as federal waivers with a focus on nutrition, accountability, and special education.

The Trousdale County School Board is scheduled to meet Thursday evening, April 16 at 6 p.m. and is expected to discuss the effects of school closure. The meeting will be held electronically and will be streamed live at the schools’ website, tcschools.org.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected] Contributing: Staff reports