Metro Schools completes phased-in reopening plan with remaining high school students returning to classrooms


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The last group of Metro Nashville Public School students will return to the classroom Wednesday after a nearly month-long phasing-in process.

District leaders reported 30, 811 students chose in-person learning which amounted to just under 55 percent of all metro students. On the other hand, 25,330 chose to remain virtual amounting to 45 percent of the total student population.

“For our school in particular our students have done very well in the virtual environment,” said East Nashville Magnet High School Principal Dr. Jamie Jenkins. “In fact, we have more students who chose to stay virtual for the remainder of the school year than the number of students who chose to come back and I believe the reason for that is the level of communication.”

East Nashville Magnet High School was among those having more students return in person. On Wednesday 10th, 11th, and 12th graders return to the classroom and last week 9th grade students had their turn.

“They’ve done really really well. They were obviously anxious just like all ninth graders are on the very first day of school. I think it was neat and appropriate for us to bring the ninth graders back first because it has given them the opportunity to get to know the building without the other students in the building,” said Dr. Jenkins.

Jenkins said the return was not without its challenges.

“The big adjustment is now having students in the building while also still having some students virtual,” said Dr. Jenkins. “The biggest work that we’ve had to lift is just to make sure that everyone is safe when they get back in the building so to make sure the teachers are protected and the students are protected.”

Students and staff have to follow social distancing and mask wearing protocols.

Dr. Jenkins said those who chose to return will be welcomed with open arms even if that’s different during the age of COVID.

“I’m excited to see them because we haven’t seen them outside of virtually and a few times here and there to pick up items throughout the school year,” Dr. Jenkins said. “Now’s the opportunity to actually see them again. It will be different. We won’t be able to give hugs or daps like normally but we can certainly still welcome them back.”

There were 20 staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 and 50 quarantined during the week of February 22-28, according to the district. There were 43 students who tested positive and 193 quarantined during that same time period.

News 2 digs deeper into how schools are moving forward safely for the new academic year. See how other districts around Middle Tennessee are handling everything from classroom concerns to the future of sports in our special series. Click here to see more.

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