Tennessee Department of Education releases guidance for reopening schools this fall amid COVID-19 pandemic

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn to testify before U.S. Senate committee Wednesday

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / All of the freezers are located inside the cafeteria space at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts Tuesday, December 3, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The kitchen space doesn't allow for freezers.

When classes begin again this fall, schools across Tennessee might reopen campuses right away or gradually, stagger student schedules, continue providing virtual distance learning or even adopt year-round models that only allow a set number of students on campus at a given time.

These options, many that have already been discussed and are under consideration in Hamilton County and other school districts across the state, were officially laid out in long-awaited guidance released by the Tennessee Department of Education on Monday.

The 44-page report asks school districts to consider how to reopen schools "within public health and education recommendations and guidelines," to plan for a resurgence of coronavirus cases or documented cases of more than one individual in a school and to plan to provide options for students who must stay home due to underlying medical conditions, infection or exposure.