NASHVILLE, TENN. (WSMV) - Safety is front and center for a lot of families in Middle Tennessee right now as students get ready to return to school for the new academic year. 

With COVID-19 cases increasing in Tennessee and many states around the country, experts say there's a lot of anxiety about returning to school. 

Schools in Middle Tennessee are set to start back in the next few weeks, and while some pediatricians say they're not in favor of the reopenings, many say the benefits of returning to the classroom outweigh the risk of contracting the virus - that is, if schools take the proper precautions. 

"I think a school system is going to have to come up with their own guidelines because you can't just say that one city is just like the next," said Dr. Shilpa Patel, New Jersey pediatrician. "we are not seeing transmissions when we're following some simple guidelines." 

Many experts agree that there should be safety guidelines in place before schools reopen, including social distancing rules. 

They say desks should be kept three to six feet apart and shouldn't face each other. They also suggest holding gym classes outside. 

News4 wants to make sure Middle Tennessee parents are up to date on the latest guidelines and reopening plans from Metro Schools. Parents can find all this information here: https://www.mnps.org/backtoschool

Remember Metro Schools will begin the 2020-21 academic year virtually through at least Labor Day. 

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