MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Murfreesboro City Schools start the 2021-2022 school year back at full capacity with masks only "strongly recommended."
The district opted not to offer a virtual school due to it only consisting of Kindergarten through 6th grades. John Pittard Elementary School Principal Adam Bryson said, "Look at the data. Kids need to be inside the school as much as they possibly can so we want to do what's best for the kids."
In regard to masks being "strongly recommended" by the district, Bryson said, "We're going to support the parents decisions... and ultimately, I just want what's but I just want kids in the building, learning and whatever it takes to get that done."
Principal Bryson has been in education for 18 years, "I love elementary schools because the students are excited about coming to school. They love their teachers, they love their principal and it's just fun, you know? We have fun everyday here!"
He explained the 2020-2021 school year was the hardest yet, with half the students in person and the other half virtual.
"It was all new and we were having to sometimes recreate the wheel as we were riding in the car," Bryson said, "But I'm so proud of our district and really, I'm so proud of just the state and the fact that we accomplished a lot of great things and, hopefully, what was, will be the most difficult professional year of our life."
"What I keep telling my staff and whoever is, we want to just provide the best education we can for our kids like we want these kids to get what they need and so we're gonna do everything we can to ensure that we're providing Murfreesboro City Schools the best education they can get," said Bryson. "And I feel quite confident that that's how we're approaching the year."
Teachers in the district are putting their desk formation in pods to help limit the amount of contact each student has with each other and therefore limit full-class-quarantines throughout the year.
The system will continue when students rotate to specials such as P.E., Art and Music and refresh at the start of the week so students are not with only one set of students all semester long.
"We love your kids and every decision we make is for your kid's best interest. We want kids to be here and be learning, but we also know we want to meet their social-emotional needs," explained Bryson, "So every decision we do is going to be what's best for kids and it's going to be a great year."