MNPS Director: classrooms won't reopen based on 'arbitrary timelines requested by the Governor'

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 19:46:27-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Public Schools Director spoke with Governor Lee about when and if the district would be bringing students back into the classroom.

Dr. Adrienne Battle said Gov. Lee requested the district adhere to a reopening timeline for in-person learning. NewsChannel 5 reached out to MNPS officials, who released the following statement.

“Dr. Battle appreciated the opportunity to talk with Governor Lee to educate him on our reopening plans here at Metro Nashville Public Schools. As Dr. Battle has repeatedly said in public and to the Governor today, MNPS will begin phasing-in students based on a decrease in community spread as reflected in our COVID-19 risk tracker. The schedule for returning students back to the classroom will be based on the health and safety of our students and staff as a top priority, and not on arbitrary timelines requested by the Governor. Governor Lee asked what he could do to help, and Dr. Battle requested he assist us in protecting our staff and supporting a safer return of our students by ensuring we start receiving direct allocations of vaccine by next week, but he would not commit to doing so.”

NewsChannel 5 reached out to the governor's office for comment but has not received a response.

The topic of COVID-19 metrics and reopening schools was briefly addressed during Tuesday's, school board meeting. However, some parents were frustrated when Dr. Battle did not set a specific date to begin phasing students back into classrooms.

"I am optimistic about the numbers we're seeing lately, and they hope the community will continue to do its part to reduce transmission of the virus so we can that happen as soon as possible," Battle said during the virtual meeting.

She said the district's current COVID-19 risk score sits at an 8 out of 10, Friday it was 7.9. The District will start phasing students into the classroom after the risk score is below 7. "Once we get to that point we will release some anticipating dates for returning students to the classroom starting with our students with the most exceptional needs and pre-K students," she explained. during the meeting.