By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

On Monday, Trousdale County joined a number of school systems statewide, including Sumner, Wilson and Smith counties, in closing for the time being.

An automated text sent to parents read: “Due to the Governor’s statement, Trousdale County Schools will be closed beginning 3/17 through 3/31. Schools will not reopen until more COVID-19 information becomes available.”

“We’re following the guidance of the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Department of Health and guidance by the Centers for Disease Control,” Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

On Monday, Gov. Bill Lee issued a statement urging all school districts to close “as soon as practically possible, with all schools expected to close by Friday, March 20.” Gov. Lee declared a state of emergency in Tennessee last Thursday.

Earlier Monday, Trousdale schools had announced certain preventative measures were announced Monday.

“Things are changing by the moment,” Satterfield said at the time. “What we’ve done is try to layer on some more safety protocols.”

The parent-teacher conferences scheduled for March 19 have been canceled. Parent meetings for eighth- and ninth-grade students were to be provided later this week via Youtube.

All extracurricular activities will be suspended during while schools are closed.

Individual Student Learning Modules will be sent home to be completed by students. These Student Learning Modules will substitute as the student’s grade in the event of an extended school closure.

“We’ve been working on that for about a week,” Satterfield added. “It’s not for kids to do during Spring Break; it’s in case we have a long-term closure that goes beyond Spring Break.”

Also, the school district will provide a free “grab and go” lunch for all students K-12 at Trousdale County High School beginning on March 30 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Also, Trousdale County Schools and the Church of the Firstborn are planning to begin distributing food boxes on Saturday, March 28. The boxes are intended to take the place of the schools’ Backpack Program in the event of a closure lasting beyond the month.

While Trousdale County has thus far seen no cases of COVID-19, the effects of the pandemic have been seen throughout the local level.

Both Foodland and Piggly Wiggly have seen a marked increase in business over the past and have seen shortages in some items, including toilet paper.

“There have been a lot of customers from Lebanon or Gallatin that don’t want to deal with lines there, so they’re coming to Hartsville,” said Foodland manager Gary Russell. “People in Hartsville, too, are buying more, but a lot of these folks we won’t ever see again.”

“We’ve been extremely busy,” added Denzil Cherry, an assistant manager at Piggly Wiggly.

Neither grocer reported problems with restocking, while noting that some trucks had been delayed because of extra orders at other locations along the delivery route.

“A lot of people are buying staple stuff: dry beans, rice,” Russell added.

Hartsville’s Fred A. Vaught Public Library has canceled events for the rest of March, but remains open for basic services.

“We will also have kids craft grab-and-go bags available at the front desk. If you know what you would like to checkout, but do not wish to enter the building, please call ahead and pull up to the back entrance. We will gather your requests and bring the items out to you,” library staff announced via Facebook.

Hartsville’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology canceled in-person classes from March 16-20, joining the state’s other 26 TCAT campuses in similar action.

Vanderbilt, UT-Chattanooga, UT-Martin, UT-Knoxville and Tennessee Tech, Cumberland and Volunteer State Community College have all announced the suspension of in-person classes and moved to online instruction.

Hartsville Church of Christ has opted to delay its annual Friends & Family Day, which was scheduled for March 29. A new date will be determined later. Williams Chapel Church’s March 28 gospel singing has also been postponed to a later date.

The Church of the Firstborn has canceled its services for the next two weeks as well.