(UPDATED) DeKalb Schools Closed For Remainder of Spring. DCHS Graduation May Have to be Rescheduled

April 15, 2020
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DeKalb County Schools will remain closed for the remainder of this spring.

Governor Bill Lee on Wednesday called on all public schools in Tennessee to remain closed for the rest of the academic year as the state continues to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

“Due to the Governor’s recommendation, DeKalb County Schools will remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year. In the coming days, we will receive more information from the Tennessee Department of Education. We will provide this information to you as soon as possible. Principals and teachers will continue to communicate educational plans to the students through phone calls, Skyward and emails. Please continue checking for communication from your school. School nutrition will continue to offer breakfast and lunch on Mondays and Thursdays at DCHS/DMS and DWS from 10:30-12:00,” said Director of Schools Patrick Cripps.

Meanwhile a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 at DCHS will be held although the scheduled May 15th date for the commencement may have to be changed due the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many questions have been raised about graduation. Mr. Randy Jennings, DCHS Principal and I will make plans for a graduation ceremony. As soon as the Safer in Place order is lifted, we will set a date to conduct the graduation ceremony. Parents and students will be informed in plenty of time to make arrangements for the 2020 graduation ceremony,” said Director Cripps.

“I am sorry for the inconvenience that COVID-19 has caused for students, guardians, faculty and staff. We will continue to move forward making decisions that are focused on our students’ and stakeholders’ social and emotional well-being, safety and education. I wish you good health and safety,” said Cripps.

Governor Lee announced his recommendation at his statewide afternoon news conference in Nashville. The decision comes two days after the governor extended his stay-at-home order through the end of April and as he looks to formulate a plan to reopen the state’s economy in May.

“We want to make sure there is flexibility” for districts across the state, Lee said. “Students have lost a significant amount of learning time.”

In addition to learning time, Lee said time outside of the classroom has further implications, noting educators play a large role in the wellbeing of students.

Penny Schwinn, the state’s education commissioner, will lead a new COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force. In a statement, Schwinn voiced appreciation for the recommendation to close schools for the remainder of the year.

“Children being out of school for such a long time has significant implications for a child’s wellbeing, and this poses a different kind of challenge for all of us, as communities and as a state,” she said in the statement.

This is the third recommendation from the governor on statewide school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he expects all districts and schools in the state to follow the recommendation and that the state would communicate with any district that wanted to open again this school year.