Gov. Lee says there will be a plan for collecting COVID-19 data from schools

WATCH: Gov. Lee says there will be a plan for collecting COVID-19 data from schools

TENNESSEE — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said his administration is working on a strategy to collect COVID-19 cases at schools.

Lee said transparency is key as the state reopens schools and gets kids back into the classroom.

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“I can’t tell you exactly what we’ll be reporting for every school or every classroom, but we will have a plan that increases transparency around reporting and protects the privacy of folks health,” Lee said during his briefing Tuesday afternoon.

This comes after the Tennessee Department of Health announced they would not collect COVID-19 data from schools.

“We also recognize from that this is a health crisis and that privacy around personal information around someone’s health is incredibly important and it’s a real balance to determine how to protect that privacy but at the same time to give transparency to folks that need to know,” he said.

COVID-19 cases are already popping up in school settings.

For example, a Collierville School District employee just tested positive last week and three Collierville High School football players tested positive the week before.

Some national studies suggest getting COVID-19 outbreaks under control before reopening school but Lee said the 25 percent drop in child abuse reporting is one of the reasons why schools should reopen.

“We suspect that child abuse hasn’t dropped by 25 percent but the number one reporting mechanism for child abuse is the teacher with eyes on the kids that they love and teach and serve,” said Lee. “That’s one piece of evidence that a child in an unstable home is better in a classroom than out of the classroom.”

In every school district, Lee said parents still have the option to choose virtual learning for their student.

Lee said his administration will share more details about the state’s reopening plans Thursday afternoon.