KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee continues to see will increase in COVID-19 circumstances and deaths from COVID-19, Tennessee Education Association President Beth Brown known as on Gov. Bill Lee to present more protections for educators and college students.

Brown spoke to WATE 6 On Your Side Wednesday shared more particulars about why she despatched the letter, on behalf of the Tennessee Education Association.

“What we’re seeing is districts across the state are doing the best they can without any strong leadership or any guidance from the state,” mentioned Brown.

As a part of the letter, Brown issued almost a dozen requests from TEA to Governor Lee. Those requests embody:

  • masks mandate for all faculty workers and college students
  • agency state steerage for an infection thresholds for faculty closure
  • present substantial emergency state faculty funding for top quality PPEs, up to date HVAC and air high quality methods, and extra cleansing companies
  • implement all CDC pointers for faculty operations
  • fund prolonged educator sick go away for energetic circumstances or quarantines
  • difficulty steerage to prioritize assigning educators with underlying circumstances to distant instruction
  • present further well being advantages and protection for workers who’ve been contaminated
  • present hazardous obligation pay for all workers straight concerned with college students

“Right now, when we are living in a pandemic, we have to do whatever it takes to put safety first,” mentioned Brown.

On Wednesday, sooner or later after Brown despatched the letter, a spokesperson for Gov. Lee mentioned in a press release to WATE 6 On Your Side, “The department received TEA’s letter yesterday and is in the process of reviewing their claims, which we have not been able to verify as accurate.”

Gov. Lee spoke Tuesday to media and shared his help for management on the district stage statewide when it comes to COVID-19 well being and security choices.

Brown mentioned she desires to make it clear, the TEA helps in-person studying above all else. The issues in the letter and requests for added security measures, she says, are methods to get again to “normal” in the classroom.

Ebenfalls enthalten in that letter, issues in regards to the Tennessee Department of Education COVID dashboard and its accuracy.

The letter states: “Another state action that should be immediately taken is to either improve the data of the Department of Education statewide COVID dashboard or take down the website.”

In response, a spokesperson for the division shared this assertion with WATE 6 On Your Side:

“The COVID-19 district information dashboard displays suppressed data that is self-reported by school districts to count the numbers of new COVID-19 positive cases each week among both students and staff, and uses strict privacy protocols. Educators and school and district leaders across the state are working hard to educate all students while following the proper health guidance, and we commend districts that have voluntarily reported data for the dashboard each week.”

Tennessee Department of Education spokesperson

The state COVID dashboard is predicated on district-reported knowledge that, in accordance to the web site, is submitted 6 p.m. EST each Monday. Based on that data, the dashboard is then populated with updates weekly.

This course of, a spokesperson famous in an e mail to 6 On Your Side Reporter Madisen Keavy, will not be comparable to particular person district COVID dashboards.

The division works on a weekly foundation to defend particular person privateness by suppressing knowledge that would probably establish college students who’re COVID-19 constructive. The dashboard stories new circumstances every week and isn’t a cumulative complete of circumstances, and has a disclaimer that clearly states, ‘TDOE cannot verify and makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the data presented’ due to quite a few necessary concerns together with: well being reporting protecting age bands that transcend faculty aged youngsters, suppressed knowledge for privateness, and well being knowledge that additionally contains college students and workers who’re totally distant.

TN Department of Education spokesperson.

The President of the Knox County Education Association, Tanya Coats, mentioned she hopes the state may ultimately flip to Knox County Schools instance to enhance the state COVID dashboard.

The impacts, Coats mentioned, transcend the classroom when there are COVID-19 circumstances inside a college, “it’s bus drivers, cafeteria workers, superintendents…”

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