Metro Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Many Metro parents have a lot of questions about things about heading back to school. 

News4 talked one-on-one with Metro Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle on a number of subjects.

Battle ultimately makes any final decision. But, she said it doesn’t come without direction from city leaders and local health experts.

Investigate Reporter Lindsay Bramson asked Battle if parents are going to have the option to send their kids back in October or will that be delayed again. 

"We’re very optimistic about how the metrics are looking today so we fully intend, given our local metrics, if we continue to see a steady decline, we will be welcoming back the earliest learners first, right after fall break,” Battle said.

Battle is talking about pre-k through 2nd grade first, then slowly phasing in the other grades as long as Nashville continues to see a decline in its COVID numbers.

Some parents told News 4 Investigates they want to know if numbers have been slowly declining for weeks, why aren’t kids back in school. They said especially when bars downtown is open and even party buses are allowed to operate one again with restrictions.

“We’re not quite where we need to be right now to resume large groups of students and staff coming back into our facilities,” Battle said.

News 4 also wanted to ask about those students who have gone weeks in some cases without working laptops.

News4 Investigates introduced you earlier this week to Jocelyn Starnes who says it took nearly 2 weeks for her son to get a working laptop.

Bramson asked Battle if she was aware there are students who don’t have laptops.

"We have continued to supply devices to those families who have a need without any questions asked,” Battle said.

She went on to say thousands of laptops were first ordered months ago back in the Spring.

Dr. Battle also said preparing for in-person learning has been happening for months.

News4 Investigates wanted to know what things will look like as students are phased in. everyone, including those who are in kindergarten she says, will be required to wear a mask. how students can walk down the hallways will also look different.

“We will have changes in the way students eat lunch and play on the playground. We’re also updating the requirements for hand washing and social distancing whenever we can,” said Dr. Battle.

Despite parent surveys showing the majority wanted their kids back in the classroom, Battle said due to COVID numbers at the time, she felt all-virtual learning was the safest decision.

“We had a slightly more percentage of families who were choosing the face-to-face option at the time,” Battle said.

Dr. Battle also said the plan is to have some sports being played again by October.

“There should be some alignment with extracurricular activities and athletics resuming,” said Battle.

Due to the COVID numbers at the time, Battle said the best decision was to begin the school year virtually. A decision she stands behind today.

“We will be engaging in further feedback from our families moving forward do we can make even more informed decisions with a phased in approach,” Battle said.

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