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Out-of-school Tenn. students can turn to PBS for instructional content

Staff Report • Mar 26, 2020 at 3:30 PM

NASHVILLE — PBS stations across Tennessee will provide daily school lessons for students starting April 6, the Tennessee Department of Education announced Wednesday.

The department has secured a partnership with the stations to deliver instructional content during the coronavirus or COVID-19 school closures. This partnership will provide all students with access to daily learning opportunities in their own homes. Public schools will reopen no earlier than April 27 under Gov. Bill Lee’s most recent executive order.

Staring April 6, Tennessee’s six PBS stations— WNPT Nashville, East Tennessee PBS, WCTE Upper Cumberland, WKNO Memphis, West TN PBS, and Chattanooga WTCI — will deliver two hours of programming with high-quality instructional content from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time. In addition, four hours of content will be streamed overnight, which viewers can watch live or record.

The content will be developed and provided by Tennessee educators in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education and will meet a critical need to ensure all students have access to high-quality learning opportunities, even if their homes lack internet connectivity or internet-capable devices.

“This is an incredible example of Tennesseans coming together to support kids,” Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a news release. “We are so thrilled to be partnering with PBS stations across the state to make high-quality instructional content available to all students so they can continue learning during school closures. Families and students are hungry for content right now, and we are grateful our local stations have stepped up to help fill this need.”

This statewide partnership builds on the work many of Tennessee’s public TV stations have already been doing with local districts to provide instructional programming during school closures, the release said.

“Tennessee’s Public Television Stations are committed to serving the citizens of Tennessee and look forward to working with the Tennessee Department of Education during this challenging time to provide instructional educational programs to the students of our state,” said Vickie Lawson, chairman of the Tennessee Public Television Council and president of East Tennessee PBS. “This partnership is another example of Tennessee’s Public Television Stations willingness to serve when needed.”

"This new partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education will work to meet our shared mission of ensuring every child is inspired and educated, regardless of their circumstances.” said Becky Magura, president and CEO of WCTE Cookeville. “This programming will help ensure students without access to the internet or other instructional materials will still have access to high-quality instruction during these school closures. For decades, we have been committed to inspiring and educating students for decades, and now more than ever, those services are critical."

For additional Tennessee Department of Education guidance related to COVID-19, visit https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus.html online.

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