Parents and teachers weigh in on Metro’s return to school timeline

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On the same day that Metro students grades Pre-K through second returned to in-person learning, teachers and parents gathered outside of the Metro Board of Education to weigh in on the remaining return dates.

The gathering came just hours ahead of Metro Schools’ first in-person board meeting.

Teachers and members of the Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA) carried signs and chanted along Bransford Avenue. Many said that they’re advocating for more COVID-19 safety protocols before a complete return to classroom learning.

“We’re asking the district to ensure that we can have small class sizes so that we’re actually able to be social distant – because right now, we’re not. We’re asking for updated ventilation systems. We still have schools with window units. We have lots of classrooms without windows,” said MNEA President Amanda Kail. “We’re asking for extended sick leave for anybody that actually needs and we’re asking that employees actually have the choice of whether or not to teach in-person or online, because right now they don’t. They can seek accommodations but there’s this idea that we have a choice, and we do not. So we’re saying that is what is necessary to make sure we have safe schools for everyone,” Kail added.

Some of the parents that gathered outside of district headquarters were members of the “Let Nashville Parents Choose” coalition.

“We’re advocating for all parents to be able to choose to send their children back to school or to remain virtual,” said Morgan Barth, a parent of two Metro elementary students.

As of now, high schoolers are the last group of Metro students to return to traditional learning starting in January 2021.

“I think waiting till January is unconscionable – between March [in the spring] when schools closed last year and January – it’ll be ten months, nearly a full calendar that high school students are out of the classroom.”

During the public comment portion of the board meeting, in addition to parents and teachers, students also weighed in.

The next board meeting is scheduled for October 27.

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

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