COVID or not, Tennessee expects 180 days of ‘quality instruction’ for students next year

Sara Morrison is executive director of the Tennessee State Board of Education, which the legislature has tasked with developing emergency rules to help school communities navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

By Marta W. Aldrich   |  Chalkbeat

Tennessee officials expect districts and charter schools to provide students with 180 days of “quality instruction” for 6½ hours each day, even if the coronavirus disrupts classrooms for a second straight year.

They’re also warning local school leaders not to expect the state to grant blanket waivers on required instructional time, including four hours a day for kindergarten students.

The State Board of Education approved an emergency policy and rule on Monday requiring districts and charter leaders to submit plans for how their school communities will teach students in 2020-21 while navigating the pandemic. That could include remote learning, traditional in-person classes, or a combination of the two.

The policy, modeled in part after similar approaches in North Carolina and Kansas, sets clear expectations for the new school year after a chaotic spring marked by wide disparities in learning depending on where a student lived. It also emphasizes the importance of delivering meaningful instruction while keeping students and staff healthy and safe during a public health emergency.

“We need both,” said Sara Morrison, the board’s executive director, on Tuesday. “To focus on safety without a similar focus on instruction would be the wrong approach.”

Read More
%d bloggers like this: