NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Metro Nashville Public Schools will start the second semester virtually on Jan. 7 and continue through the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in the community, the school system announced on Monday.
“We have done an extensive amount of planning and preparation to welcome students back to in-person learning once conditions allow for it,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Schools, in a news release. “Sadly, the increasing spread of COVID-19 through our community remains at the worst level we have seen during this pandemic, with no clear signs of ending soon.”
The district will use a risk score based on metrics released through the Metro Public Health Department to inform decision on when to bring students physically back into the classroom. The score needs to go below seven to begin a phase-in of face-to-face learning opportunities, starting with students with exceptional needs and those in grades Pre-K through 4, followed by grades 5 and 9, and then the remaining grades for students who selected the in-person option in the family decision surveys.
"this has been torture for her," said Bernadette Minyard about her daughter, a Senior with MNPS. "Because number one she hasn’t been ale to be around her peers number two she hasn’t been able to have the one-on-one accommodations contact that she needs with her teachers."
Metro Schools has also been working to develop a partnership with Meharry Medical College to build stronger plans and protocols for the remainder of the school year, to include external compliance monitors, a testing program, and working on a vaccine distribution plan once it becomes available to the staff.
“The last thing any of us wants to see if a full school year go by without the opportunity for our middle or high school students to meet their teachers or their classmates in person, if they so choose,” said Battle. “While community spread is going to continue to be a major factor in our plans, our partnership with Meharry Medical College will ensure we are complying with best practices for reducing spread, while also added testing capabilities to help identify cases of COVID-19 and further reduce the risk of transmission.”
The district will seek to leverage existing available resources to implement those programs, such as free rapid test offered by the State of Tennessee, while also working with Mayor John Cooper and other stakeholders to identify additional funds, potentially up to $18 million, necessary for the staffing and new resources that would allow the school system to achieve the best results.
The Teachers Union released the following statement on their Facebook:
On behalf of Nashville's educators, we thank Dr. Battle for making student and staff safety a priority. We ask our community at large to help create safe working and learning conditions for all by masking up and staying home this holiday season.
Supporting virtual learners will continue to be a high priority for the district. Students or families in need of technology or other support can visit one of four virtual help centers Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. when school is in session at the following locations:
- Glencliff High School, 160 Antioch Pk. (at the back of the building, off Holbrook Drive)
- Maplewood High School, 410 Walton Ln.
- Glencliff High School, 160 Antioch Pike (at the back of the building, off Holbrook Drive)
- Maplewood High School, 410 Walton Lane
- Overton High School, 4820 Franklin Road
- Pearl-Cohn High School, 904 26th Ave. N.
No-cost breakfast and lunch meals will continue to be provided for the remainder of the school year at both school sites and bus stops. Schedules are available online.