Tennessee health department won’t track COVID-19 data at schools as they reopen

Tennessee will not gather or report COVID-19 cases at schools as the state moves forward with plans to reopen in the fall, according to a report from the Daily News Journal, a Murfreesboro, Tenn., newspaper.

A spokesperson from the state’s health department said it will not ask schools to report COVID-19 cases or deaths among students and staff due to privacy concerns. Instead, each district will be able to decide how to track COVID-19 cases and take steps to stem the spread.

The state’s department of education cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as the reason it will not collect COVID-19 data from schools. However, schools can disclose COVID-19 case information publicly if they decide to, according to the report.

Critics of the health and education departments’ decisions say the COVID-19 case rates by school are crucial to guide decisions about public safety and whether to continue in-person instruction after class begins again.

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