Tennessee shortens how long schools can shift to remote learning from COVID-19

A middle school principal walks the empty halls of his school as he speaks with one of his teachers to get an update on her COVID-19 symptoms, Friday, Aug., 20, 2021, in Wrightsville, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

Teacher and staff shortages caused by another COVID-19 surge have some Tennessee administrators seeking state permission to move schools or classes temporarily to remote learning.

But any switch will only be for five calendar days instead of the seven-day window approved for dozens of districts and charter schools during the fall semester.

This week, the Tennessee Department of Education shortened the length of time schools can temporarily go remote. The rollback, officials said, was based on new federal and state guidance halving the recommended isolation time to five days for people testing positive for the coronavirus.

The decision reinforces the focus of Gov. Bill Lee's administration on keeping Tennessee students in brick-and-mortar schools, even with cases climbing again from COVID-19's highly contagious omicron variant.

The