NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Metro Nashville Education Association said there is still more work to be done before students and teachers re-enter the classroom as district officials prepare its final plans.

Most Nashville students will gradually return to classroom in October.

According to a recent survey by the Metro Nashville Education Association, most teachers still feel uneasy about returning to the classroom with students, not knowing if there will be enough PPE and what will happened if a teacher can't come in.

"We want to be back in the classroom we just want to do it safely," said Amanda Kail, President of the Metro Nashville Education Association.

Kail said the association is regularly meeting with district officials to ensure the safety of everyone entering a classroom from COVID-19.

"With teachers we're kind of just saying, 'Well just do the best you can,'" said Kail. "We're not going to have the small class sizes the district has already admitted, we can't do the social distancing that is really truly necessary."

Kail told News4 a big concern is if teachers call out what will happen to the students. She said previously, if a substitute teacher was unavailable, students could be split and go to partner classrooms.

"We have had a hard time having adequate substitute teachers even before COVID," said Kail.

Metro Nashville Schools said the district is adding school-assigned substitutes who will report to the school every day.

Other districts like Wilson and Williamson counties said they are using substitutes as usual.

All staff are being screened for COVID daily.

But getting substitutes, enough protective equipment or even making sure there's enough space in the classrooms, the education association says it comes down to funding.

"If we want to make sure that we have what we need, we need to make sure we take care of the people who are going to do the work," said Kail.

Kail said a lot of funding could come from Nashville's 34% property tax raise. She said if it's repealed, the district could have to cut funding for things like substitutes.

Metro and Wilson County schools told News4 the systems feel they have enough substitutes for the moment. Other areas like Williamson County said more need to apply to be substitutes.


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