NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Virtual learning is a challenge for all families, and that's especially true for the thousands of students in Tennessee who are still learning to speak English.
In Metro Schools, there are 16,000 students who speak 140 different languages.
"Students are coming from all across the world," said Molly Hegwood with Metro Nashville Public Schools.
They too will be learning from home this fall.
"Our first point that we want to make sure is that all of our English learners and all students honestly have access to a laptop and Wi-fi," said Hegwood.
That's why Metro Schools has set up a separate phone line with interpretation services for EL students to get their computers.
Once students receive their computers, an ESL teacher will reach out.
"Some of them will have their regular EL services with a group of students. That's about an hour a day where they're learning English. Others will have their EL teacher in that virtual classroom with them to support them so it's really based on what the students need," said Hegwood.
As for what happens if and when their laptops break.
The district is launching and EL specific technology phone line on July 27.
"They can call that number and it gives them a live interpreter in their language that is then going to connect with the tech support team," said Hegwood.
Perhaps the biggest challenge right now is getting EL students enrolled.
Metro expects to have 1,500 new EL kindergartners this Fall.
Those families need to make an appointment to physically come in for a language assessment.
"Metro has put in a lot of work to make sure it's safe for both the staff member and the family," said Hegwood.
The time to do it is now.
Even if you don't have an EL student, Metro is asking people to spread the word.
"Just say, 'Hey! Have you registered? Do you have a laptop yet,' and just say, 'if you haven't, call this number and they'll get you hooked up."
To register an EL student call 615-259-8608 or email is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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