MNPS plans for fall reopening while keeping students engaged over Summer

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — Leaders of Metro Nashville Public Schools are looking to keep students engaged during the summer break after what some call the most challenging school year ever.

The March 3 tornadoes impacted 9,584 MNPS students and 871 employees. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit the entire district.

Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle recapped the past few months during Tuesday’s board meeting. She said the district decided to close on March 11 and worked to get food to students who needed it.

The district also shifted to remote learning which meant getting 10,000 laptops for students to use at home. Dr. Battle added that with the exception of graduating seniors, students will be able to keep those laptops over the summer to help prevent the summer slide.

“We’ve launched our summer virtual learning experience which is free of charge to all of our students and also includes opportunities for parents and guardians as well,” said Dr. Battle. “So we wanted our students to stay connected and stay engaged and therefore they have the ability to hang on to their loaner devices until the Fall.”

MNPS leaders are still working on reopening classrooms for the 2020-2021 school year.

“We are planning for many different scenarios to open on time for the 2020-2021 school year, and provide a great quality education regardless of the circumstances we face,” said Dr. Battle. “So, to be clear, we will do everything in our power to prioritize the health of our students and employees.”

The district is working with local health experts including Vanderbilt University, chair of Metro Nashville’s coronavirus task force Dr. Alex Jahangir, and the office of Mayor John Cooper. Dr. Battle said Nashville’s independent, Catholic, and charter schools are also part of the discussion so all are on the same page about what will be necessary to open classrooms again.

“We hope that conditions allow us to be open in the Fall,” said Dr. Battle. “We will follow the science and research from around the world. We will take all practical efforts to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19. If conditions do not allow us to open or we need to close during the school year, we will be poised to transition smoothly and swiftly.”

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.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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