Metro Schools could return to all-virtual learning if COVID-19 numbers don’t improve

Keeping Schools Safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Adrienne Battle issued a warning Monday for parents and staff that if the Nashville’s COVID-19 numbers do not improve by Thanksgiving, all Metro Schools will close and return to all-virtual learning on Nov. 30.

According to MNPS, Dr. Battle plans to make a final decision by Tuesday, Nov. 24, the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. The all-virtual learning option would last for three weeks until the start of winter holiday break on Dec. 17.

The district also warned it remains possible all schools could close before Thanksgiving if the city’s COVID-19 numbers “get drastically worse between now and then.”

“Just like many of you, I am seeing the daily case counts and becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the direction we are headed with the virus,” Dr. Battle wrote in an email Monday. “In looking at those daily numbers, I’m also looking at four categories in the Metro dashboard for community spread: transmission rate, positivity rate, cases per 100,000 residents, and 14-day new case trend. As of today, three of four categories are in the red, and the positivity rate, while green, is still higher than we would like to see.”

Dr. Battle thanked all students, staff and families who have worked to mitigate the spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing their hands and practicing safe social distancing. She acknowledged the many sacrifices so many people have made since March, including changing their traditional Thanksgiving plans to avoid indoor gatherings.

Hundreds of MNPS staff and thousands of students have had to quarantine as a result of being a close contact to someone who tested positive for the virus, and the district has logged 347 positive cases (208 staff and 139 students) between Oct. 11 and Nov. 15.

“Nearly all the cases have been contracted outside of the classroom or school, though we are seeing an indication of confirmed and potential transmission at several of our schools,” Dr. Battle wrote. “Even if classroom spread is limited or unlikely, the reality is that we need teachers to teach, and the numbers of isolations and quarantines are taking a toll on our ability to staff classrooms.” 

MNPS reopened schools for students with exceptional needs in September and reopened elementary schools in October so the students who would benefit most from in-person learning would have that option. As the city’s numbers began to spike again in late October, Dr. Battle and the Board of Education decided to pause the reopening phase-in plan before middle schools were scheduled to reopen.    

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

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(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

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