School buildings may be closed and classrooms may be empty, but behind the scenes school leaders are still hard at work for Tennessee students. (Photo from October 2014) 

As people from every walk of life adapt to the day-to-day realities of a global pandemic, we also face the critical need to ensure that our kids’ nutritional needs are met and students continue to receive academic instruction while schools remain closed.  

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) has curated a list of resources for school leaders to help them make local decisions to support teachers and students. These resources include best practices for feeding students during the closure, district guidance on how to support student learning during this time away from school, as well as toolkits on meeting the needs of special student populations. 

In addition, TDOE has established three hotlines for questions related to the COVID-19 school closure:  

  • A COVID-19 hotline for district leaders available Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT.  629-888-5898 or toll-free 833-947-2115. You may also email
  • A nutrition hotline available daily 7:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT. (800)-354-3663 or email
  • A Tennessee coronavirus public information line available daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m. CDT. 877-857-2945. 

The department is working to develop parent-focused resources to help with students’ continued learning as we adjust during this health crisis. TDOE’s resources page will be updated when those materials are available. 

Diane Hughes is communications manager at SCORE.