Nashville private school sees increase in enrollment after parents say students need a consistent schedule

Keeping Schools Safe

DONELSON, Tenn. (WKRN) — As Metro Nashville Public Schools announces a plan to return to in-person learning, some parents say the move comes too late for their students.

“I was devastated, I felt like the rug was just yanked out from underneath us,” said Jenny Garrigan.

Garrigan described the moment she and her family found out Metro Schools would be closing before the Winter Break. It’s a moment she said kept happening too often.

For years, Garrigan’s two daughters Gigi and Tatum had been attended school through the Metro School district.

“A couple of days before we were supposed to go back, they changed their minds. I can’t do the up and down rollercoaster, it’s not healthy for children, it’s not healthy for my children, it’s not healthy for me as a parent,” explained Garrigan.

Looking for other options for her fifth and seventh grade girls, she called a friend that worked at Holy Rosary Academy to see if the school had room for two more.

Holy Rosary, like other private institutions, was offering in-person learning. Garrigan enrolled her daughters immediately.

“The first week of November, right after we got the call that Metro wasn’t going back, I was like, I don’t care if it’s the middle of the semester, I was like ‘can they start?'” said Garrigan, “Everyday, in-person, with a teacher, with their peers, learning.”

It’s a trend Principal Kimber Halliburton is seeing in the classroom. She says enrollment and the number of new applications has increased. The school accepted 30 new students for the Spring semester alone.

Now more teachers are in demand, specifically for the third grade.

“They want the stability of school. They don’t want an off again, on again scenario when it comes to their child’s in-person learning,” explained Halliburton.

Halliburton explains it’s a team effort, attributing the increase to the school’s dedication to safety and in-person learning. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the school has not had to shut its doors once.

“You can return to school, teachers can return to school, they can teach, they can teach children every day, and they can protect themselves. We have only had about six students test positive for COVID,” said Halliburton.

While Halliburton says every case is different, the school’s focus on making sure to follow CDC guidelines has led them to a successful school year.

Inside the classroom, desks sit with dividers allowing students to take off their masks while in their cubicle. In all, the schools say they have contributed nearly $7,000 to COVID safety measures.

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

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