The State Department of Education has declined Overton County Schools’ request for seven days of remote learning.
Director of Schools Donnie Holman said according to Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, the district did not have enough sick students.
“The rationale behind it was she (Schwinn) was still very concerned by the large percent of students that are still here,” Holman said. “She wanted those, from the way I understand it, she was still very interested in those students receiving in-person instruction.”
Holman said if remote learning was approved, hot spot schools such as Hilham Elementary, Rickman Elementary and Livingston Academy would have all taken advantage starting Tuesday. Holman said the only options he has for COVID closures now are using weather days.
“The only thing I have at my disposal is to close schools,” Holman said. “Other districts have closed. Some for a week. I do not want to do that. When a district closes for a couple days, those superintendents are using their stockpile days. I know later on when we have snow we will be wanting everyday that we have, but we need to take care of every situation that comes up and right now, we are dealing with COVID numbers.”
Holman said the district applied for the waiver Monday and heard back that night. Holman said he understands Schwinn’s viewpoint on the decision, but he was still shocked by the news.
“When you’re in a leadership role, you are not going to make everybody happy,” Holman said. “I’ve learned that over the years, and I am trying to be sensible. But what I am concerned about is our students right now, and I want to do something to help them.”