While many parents prepare to send their elementary students back to the classroom on Tuesday, Metro Pre-K through 2nd grade teachers are making final preparations to their classrooms to ensure safety from COVID-19.
"We’re going to teach them about their personal space," said first grade teacher Brianna Mason at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School.
The book Welcome to the Zoo sits on her shelf, fitting as she tries to figure out how to make sure her young students can space out.
Classroom tables are rearranged with dividers set up to promote distancing. Jugs of hand sanitizer are prominently placed at the classroom entry ways.
"You know, it’s going to be difficult but I also know this has been their reality for the past several months," said Mason. "I definitely hope to include some of that technology that they’ve used this past quarter."
Executive Principal Kendra Chapman says she can't wait to see students again. Nearly two-thirds of the school will be returning to in person learning, that more than 200 students.
"I definitely have wondering about how it’s going to go and I do worry," said Chapman. "We have to make sure we’re responsive."
Chapman has made sure there's over two thousand disposable masks available, just to begin with and helped get floor markers and signs to reinforce social distancing.
"They want to have that time in the cafeteria with their friends we just have to make sure we’re doing it safely," said Chapman.
Chapman told NEWS4 she thinks their plan is solid, but is ready to adjust as needed.
"We’ve been planning on this all along since really since March," said Chapman.
"Nobody was prepared for this and when you go through your training to become a teacher they don’t include what happens when there’s a pandemic," said Mason.
MNPS officials tell NEWS4 many of the nurses are working directly with Metro Health. They'll be monitoring student health closely to prevent having to shut down a school and hopefully keep closures isolated to a classroom if possible.
Metro Nashville’s school district said they saw higher numbers for in person learning for kids in younger grades. At the elementary school level, they’re expecting more than 16,000 students to return in person across all the schools in the district.
News 4 received a sneak peek of what your kids could see in the classroom and saw inside Tusculum Elementary School.
Students Pre-K through second grade will notice Hallways are going to have arrows letting kids know which direction to walk in
Desks will be physically distanced as much as possible and classrooms will have stickers showing students where to stand.
“In spaces where we don’t have individual desks and we might tables for some of the younger learners, we are providing face shields as well as face masks to increase the amount of security and caution there,” Dr. Mason Bellamy said.
Schools have also been sent the PPE and safety materials. Educators said principals have a hub online where they can go to order PPE from the district office.
“Plexi glass dividers in our office,” Bellamy said. “But you’re also going to see, there will be much more stringent visitor protocols than you’ve seen in the past as well.”
Bellamy said as kids return Everyone will be wearing a mask except during socially distanced recess when outside.
Right now, only essential personnel will be allowed in the building.