Gov. Bill Lee

NASHVILLE, TN - Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced members and objectives of the statewide COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force, which was made to support Tennessee children in response to extended school building closures.

Governor Bill Lee charged Commissioner Schwinn to make the COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force in response to the pandemic’s long-term effects on Tennessee’s school districts and students. The goal of the Task Force is to help communities come together to check on kids.

“The Child Wellbeing Task Force will work to ensure that the needs of Tennessee children are met during and after extended periods away from school, and to empower local communities to meaningfully engage in ways that support child wellbeing,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. 

“I am encouraged by these dedicated individuals from across the state who have stepped up to serve.” 

The department’s strategic plan prioritizes the whole child as one of three priority areas. 

The Task Force will operate with the following concrete objectives:

  • Empowering local implementation: Identify local infrastructure, relationships, and resources to promote supports for students and families.
  • Supporting rapid response for late summer and back-to-school 2020: Develop a set of action items that local communities may utilize over the summer and throughout the traditional back-to-school season to support the needs of children.
  • Determining ongoing support for the upcoming academic year 2020-2021: Develop a set of action items that local communities may utilize to support the needs of children when school resumes in the fall of 2020.

The Task Force will produce the following:

  • By July 6, 2020, the task force will produce a postmortem report on the impacts of school closure on critical services to children that occurred across the state and will identify opportunities for locally established and maintained infrastructure.
  • By July 10, 2020, the task force will provide guidance for conducting child well-being checks during the summer and/or throughout back-to-school season as children begin a new school year.
  • By July 24, 2020, the task force will provide guidance for community-based child well-being checks, services, and supports throughout the academic year.
  • By October 2, 2020, the task force will develop the Pandemic Preparation Toolkit, outlining a more comprehensive set of recommendations, action items, and planning tools for local communities for any future school closures.
  • By December 11, 2020, the task force will produce a report to the Governor summarizing the work of the group and making recommendations for the future.