NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams is sharing his concerns about students going back to school in a few weeks.

While he supports kids being back in the classroom, he worries about communities where the COVID-19 transmission rate is high.

"All across our nation, we've taken steps together to slow the spread of coronavirus," said Adams.

But in Nashville and across Tennessee, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is increasing.

Despite bars being closed, restaurants closing early and a mask mandate in several counties, thousands of students will be back to school in a couple of weeks.

"Our district is a lot larger than some of the other districts that touch us," said Metro School Board Member Fran Bush.

She said it's because of the size of the district, Metro students will not be going back right away. All 90,000 students in Metro schools will begin the year with remote learning.

In Rutherford, Williamson and Wilson counties, there will be options for both online and on-campus learning.

Adams said the key to reopening schools safely is reducing community transmission first.

Dr. Alex Jahangir, who chairs Metro's COVID-19 Task Force, couldn't agree more with Adams.

"The way you know the community spread is not exploding out there is if transmission is heading downwards or at 1 or below 1," said Jahangir.

Jahangir said Nashville is between 1.1 and 1.2 transmission rate, averaging about 370 positive COVID-19 cases each day.

"The lower the transmission rate, the better we can be," said Jahangir.

"We really need to try to do everything we can go get back in the classroom," said Bush.

The plan is for students in Metro Schools to be back in the classroom after Labor Day. For parents who aren't comfortable with that, students will still have the option to continue learning online.


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