Commissioner Schwinn Statement Regarding General Assembly Passage of Education Waivers Related to COVID-19

Thursday, March 19, 2020 | 06:03pm

Thursday, March 19, 2020  
MEDIA CONTACT: Victoria Robinson  

Commissioner Schwinn Statement Regarding General Assembly Passage of Education Waivers Related to COVID-19

NASHVILLE, TN— In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and tornado damage, the Tennessee General Assembly passed HB2818/ SB2672, which waives state assessment and accountability requirements, including the 2019-20 spring administration of the TNReady and end-of-course assessments.

 Commissioner Penny Schwinn released the following statement regarding these waivers:

“These are challenging times for all of us. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the Governor’s Office and legislative leaders to craft this amendment so that no student, educator, or school will be adversely affected due to the loss of instructional time caused by tornadoes and the coronavirus pandemic.

The priority must be to enact response measures to protect the health and safety of all Tennesseans. The Department is continuing to work with district leaders as they support their students, teachers, and staff during these closures. Thank you to the General Assembly for quickly addressing this issue and providing clarity to our educators and families.”

The amendment ensures that no school district, school, district employee or teacher is adversely impacted by school closures, student absenteeism or other hardships related to COVID-19 and the tornadoes.

Assessment and accountability is an integral part of the Tennessee education system that enables us to learn where students are excelling and how to best meet the needs of all students. In order to waive any requirements related to assessment and accountability, a federal waiver is required and the Tennessee legislature must make changes to existing state law. Passage of this amendment makes the necessary changes for the 2019-2020 school year only.

On Monday, the Department submitted the necessary waiver to the U.S. Department of Education related to assessment and accountability.

Read more about the amendment on the Tennessee General Assembly’s website here:  

Department of Education resources and guidance for COVID-19: