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"I absolutely will not wait" | Grainger County Schools to close Monday

The Director of Schools also elaborated on disagreements he had with the Tennessee Department of Education regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

GRAINGER COUNTY, Tenn. — Grainger County Schools will be closed Monday, March 16 the administration confirmed on Saturday. 

In a Facebook post, Director of Schools James Atkins laid out plans for the school corporation in the coming weeks. 

The post stated during the next two weeks, there will be no school activities and the facilities would not be used. Spring break plans are also subject to change. 

"In all likelihood the spring break will no longer be April 6-10, 2020. Instead, we will probably have our spring break March 23-27, 2020. We may have to make up the four instructional days missed this coming week, but the safety of our students, staff, faculty, and community is more important than the inconvenience of making up a few days," Adkins said. 

In the post, Atkins elaborated on disagreements he had with the Tennessee Department of Education regarding the coronavirus pandemic:

Never will I jeopardize the safety of our people! 

When I posted the message yesterday to Facebook, I was hopeful that the Tennessee Department of Education would take a lead role in dismissing schools or reducing the 180 day requirement. 

Yesterday afternoon, I received written correspondence from the Tennessee Department of Education stating they do not recommend school closure unless cases are confirmed in the school. 

They said, “If your school has a suspected case of COVID-19 that has not yet been lab-confirmed, school operations should continue as normal.” 

The Tennessee Department of Education went on to say, “Districts are not advised to close schools unless a school has been notified of a lab-confirmed COVID-19 illness in a student or staff member.”

 I respectfully disagree with the department of education, and I absolutely will not wait until we have a confirmed case before we close schools.

I intend to be proactive instead of reactive. 

Thank you, James Atkins. 

The school corporation plans to reopen on Monday, March 30, 2020.