Franklin County Board of Education pic

With a parent of a child who attends the Sewanee Children’s Center at Otey Parish suspected of having contracted the coronavirus, the Franklin County School System may extend its school closure beyond March 31.

Director of Schools Stanley Bean said Friday that a meeting is planned Tuesday with school system administrators to set criteria to have students complete course material online with the time frame of the program depending on how much the coronavirus spreads.

Bean said students could be away from school until April 24 or May 1, depending on circumstances.

He said the situation at Sewanee has involved mixed information.

He added that if the parent had not been close to anyone at the Children’s Center, the likelihood of the disease being able to spread might be reduced.

Bean said the school system had expended its stockpiled weather days, and with school being closed through March 31, the schedule is behind by seven calendar days.

In the past, if bad weather consumed days beyond the stockpiled amount, the schedule was extended to meet the state’s 180-day required school year.

However, Bean said that with the unusual and unexpected conditions related to the coronavirus, the state has waived the 180-day requirement.

After severe tornado damage and the COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee, state lawmakers unanimously passed a bill this week to help students and teachers get through the school year.

The measure drops end-of-course TNReady testing and waives the requirement of 180 classroom instruction days for the 2019-2020 school year.

Bean said a key goal he has is to have any events involving senior students to be held by the time they graduate in May.

He said that through the current school closure, free lunch and breakfast is being provided at all schools to anyone age 18 and younger.

The only schools not being used as pick-up locations for the food are North Middle School and South Middle School due to their current construction statuses.

The school system agreed to the move to be proactive in reducing the risk to spread the coronavirus.