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Williamson County, City schools asking the state to reauthorize pandemic online learning

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(Mike Osborne) -- Schools in Williamson County struggled Wednesday to contain a growing outbreak of new COVID-19 infections among students, teachers and staff.

The board of the Murfreesboro City Schools system voted on Tuesday to institute a mask mandate in all indoor settings. In a social media, post MCS says the decision was based on “rapidly rising cases” of COVID-19. MCS is allowing students to opt out of the policy in accordance with an executive order signed by Gov. Bill Lee earlier this month.

Williamson County Schools have also reported a surge in new case of the virus. This past Friday, Fairview Middle School had to be closed as new infections spiked higher.

The Tennessean reported Wednesday that the Murfreesboro Special School District and the Williamson County School District have sent a joint letter to state lawmakers asking that remote learning be re-authorized as a tool to combat the virus.

Back in April, the state Board of Education voted to strip Tennessee schools of the online learning option as a response to health emergencies. The board took the vote after Gov. Bill Lee demanded that school systems return students to in-person learning.

When Williamson County closed Fairview Middle School last week it had to record the lost instruction time as a bad weather day.

The newspaper reports the systems have sent a letter to the county’s state legislative delegation asking that they urge Gov. Lee and the Board of Education to reverse course and once again authorize online learning.

So far during the month of August, nearly 900 Williamson County school age children have been infected by coronavirus. Compare that to June when just 36 children reported new infections.