MNPS to begin second semester with virtual learning due to COVID-19 surge

Posted at 2:12 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 12:14:05-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Due to the surge of COVID-19 in Nashville, Metro Nashville Public School students will start the second semester virtually on Jan. 7. Remote learning will continue through at least the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

“We have done an extensive amount of planning and preparation to welcome students back to in-person learning once conditions allow for it,” Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Schools said in a press release. “Sadly, the increasing spread of COVID-19 through our community remains at the worst level we have seen during this pandemic, with no clear signs of ending soon.”

The district will use a risk score based on metrics released through the Metro Public Health Department to inform decisions on when to bring students physically back into the classroom.

In order to return to the classroom, the score must be below seven. A phased-in return would then begin with students with exceptional needs and those in grades Pre-K through 4, followed by grades 5 and 9, and then the remaining grades for students who selected the in-person option in the family decision surveys.

The organization Let Nashville Parents Choose has spoken out against virtual learning, even hosting a rally a few weeks back.
The group tweeted to the district Monday, saying in part “please modify reopening school system to include more relevant transmission. Also consider how well in-person instruction went in October through November."

MNPS has been working to develop a partnership with Meharry Medical College to build stronger plans and protocols for next semester. This includes a testing program, external compliance monitors and working on a vaccine distribution plan when it becomes available to district staff.

Dr. Battle said the district plans to work with Mayor John Cooper and others to find an additional $18 million in funding to help implement these new programs.

They’ve already allocated federal CARES Act funding towards hiring additional school nurses, with the goal of having one nurse in each school.