Nashville teachers union and teachers respond to end-of-year school closure

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has kept school districts statewide closed for almost a month. On Wednesday, Governor Bill Lee recommended that districts remain closed for the remainder of the year.

Governor Lee said that he anticipated all districts would follow the recommendation, continuing the shift to virtual learning.

Paula Pendergrass, a Metro Public Schools teacher, said educators have become adjusted to the changes needed to prioritize safety, “we are concerned about the health of our students, our colleagues, and our building administrators.”

Pendergrass also sees hows her son’s four grade teachers tackle virtual learning, “he has two teachers that work closely together, they’re doing weekly zoom calls with him.” she said.

Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA) President, Amanda Kail, said the use of online resources has brought awareness to tough realities faced by students in rural and metropolitan areas.

“Some students have access to internet and others do not.” she said.

She added that Metro Nashville Public Schools, MNPS, has worked to provide resources like laptops.

Statewide, other districts are also problem-solving; providing daily meals to students and adjusting graduation dates.

Kail said MNPS has one of the toughest tasks remaining, “…we are looking at for MNPS right now, a potential 100 million dollar hit to our current budget.”

She continued saying that MNEA is advocating that no cuts be made to teacher pay to meet the new budget cuts.

Kail said Governor Lee could help MNPS with its budget shortfalls by halting his school voucher pilot program, “…to continue to push a program that takes money away from our public schools …that doesn’t sit well with us at all.”

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

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