NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Metro Nashville Public Schools leaders say recent increases in COVID-19 cases are forcing them to change their plans to bring students back to the classroom.

The district will now pause their phase-in plan for students from fifth to eighth grade, following an emergency meeting on Friday.

Over the past few weeks, Metro Schools has phased students from Pre-K to fourth grade back into the classroom. Fifth and sixth graders were set to return on Tuesday, but will now remain in virtual learning until Nashville's COVID cases start trending in the right direction. 

On Saturday Metro Health reported an increase of 294 new COVID-19 cases and on Sunday an increase of 243 new cases. 

Three key metrics for our city are now in the red, including transmission and the 14-day new case trend. Hospital capacity is currently in the yellow, indicating less than satisfactory status.

Schools in Davidson County have also reported cases of their own. According to the Tennessee Department of Education, there were 26 positive student cases and 32 staff cases reported. Those numbers were last updated on October 19. 

"These numbers can be alarming, but we have not seen significant evidence that it's spreading in our buildings," Metro Schools Director Dr. Adrienne Battle said. "However, it takes time to access close context to see if people who quarantine test positive in that 14-day window." 

The students in Pre-K through fourth grade who have already returned to school will stay there for now as the remaining students continue to learn virtually. However, the district did hint that they may be taken out if Nashville's COVID-19 situation worsens. 

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