The Covenant School returns to class for first time since mass shooting

The Nashville community continues to support Covenant as they make their way back to the classroom.
WSMV4's Lydia Fielder reports.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 9:09 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Students and staff at The Covenant School returned to the classroom on Tuesday morning.

A Nashville mother-daughter duo hoped to help make the halls feel a little more at-home.

The students did not return to the Covenant campus for class. Instead, classes will be held at Brentwood Hills Church of Christ for the remainder of the school year.

That is where Mandi Robertson and Katelen Watkins worked overnight Monday and into the morning Tuesday to hang 1,000 balloons. Red, white, black and silver balloons adorned the halls and ceilings of the church, greeting the students and staff.

“Our goal is just for them to see their school colors and just that the school is welcoming them back in full force,” Watkins said. “I hope when they pulled up this morning, they saw [the balloons], and it was like, ‘Fear be gone. This is beautiful, and we can have fun today.’”

The school said students returned on a limited schedule and in phases. Watkins said half the students returned Tuesday, and the other half starts back Wednesday.

“We tried to stay in their path that they would go each day, from the office, to class, to the cafeteria,” Watkins said.

“It’s pretty awesome how Brentwood Hills just stepped up,” Robertson said. “Their classrooms, I mean, they have it all laid out, you know, like kindergarten through second, and then this grade through this grade.”

The duo said while they were decorating Monday night, Brentwood Hills ran through security and safety drills.

“Our goal with the balloons was if it could just diminish an ounce of fear, and an ounce of anxiousness, and be replaced with joy and hope,” Watkins said, “that was our goal for this.”