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Legislation gives Tennessee’s governor authority to require all schools to offer in-person learning

The General Assembly on Thursday gave final approval for legislation giving Tennessee’s governor the authority to issue an executive order requiring all schools across the state to offer in-person learning.

House Bill 225 gives the governor this authority in the instance of an emergency, which is defined as an “occurrence or threat, whether natural, technological, or manmade, that results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population, including disease outbreaks and epidemics, or substantial damage to or loss of property.”

In addition to giving the governor the ability to issue the statewide order, the bill also grants school boards more independence regarding whether their schools should be open or closed to in-person learning during a public emergency. School boards can delegate the authority to the director of schools under an amendment added to the legislation.

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House Bill 225 heads to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for his signature.

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