NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Metro Schools students will continue to learn virtually through fall break, Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle announced Tuesday during a Metro School Board meeting.

Battle made the decision with Davidson County still in a modified Phase 2 of its reopening plan.

Most students will now continue online learning until at least October 12.

Battle said there have been 11 staff members who have reported positive COVID-19 cases and 22 close contacts quarantined since July 30.

The director also announced on Tuesday that all extracurricular activities are postponed until further notice. This includes activities such as sports, band, art and music programs. The director encouraged virtual activities whenever possible.

Battle notified district leaders about the decision during a phone call at 3 p.m. prior to the board meeting.

She noted that counties that have reopened are having to quarantine staff and close schools on a regular basis because of the spread of COVID-19.

“Opening schools while there’s still a high rate of spread puts students, families and staff at higher risk,” Battle said. “Opening schools could disrupt students, families and the educational environment if classrooms and schools must close quickly after.”

Battle recommended offering in-person learning to a small population representing the most vulnerable K-12 students after Labor Day.

Students in contracted special day schools would return Sept. 9, while students in district-run special day schools would resume Sept. 16.

Students with disabilities in traditional schools who participate in modified curriculum or who have significant challenges accessing virtual learning effectively would resume Sept. 23. Click for details.

The district is also partnering with the YMCA to offer no-cost childcare at Metro Schools sites.

These centers will provide supervision and support for virtual learning, be available to children in grades K-5 (ages 5-12) and will have a maximum of 60 students per site.

Battle said the school system would announce the next steps before fall break, which begins with a stockpiled day on Oct. 2 and runs from Oct. 5-9.

Battle expects to use a phased-in approach when students return to the classroom, with the youngest students beginning the phase-in process first. A virtual option will be provided to families through the end of the school year.

“Nashville has made some important progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but we still have a long way to go before we are back to normal as a community,” said Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force, in a statement to School Board members. “I appreciate Dr. Battle and the Board of Education prioritizing the safety of students and staff with a phased-in approach to a safe return to schools.”

Metro Schools has handed out 44,800 computers to students, 13,000 more than initial needs identified, and 12,741 hot spots.

The school system said all needs identified by schools for student laptops has been met, though some teachers are struggling to keep up with the demands of online learning.

Metro Schools will be purchasing 7,000 additional devices for teachers using $6.9 million in capital funding already approved for technology. Those devices should begin arriving by next week, prioritizing the oldest and malfunctioning laptops for replacement first. The school system will also seek to use excess mayor’s CARES Act funding to supplement the technology.

 
 
 

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