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Teacher association survey shows discomfort going back to Nashville schools

Survey shows 66% want mask mandate
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Posted at 12:40 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 14:34:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A survey provided to Metro Nashville Public School teachers and staff revealed that some educators aren't "comfortable" going back into the classroom this fall.

The survey -- performed by the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association -- indicated nearly 58% of the 756 surveyed felt unsafe with current guidelines heading into the school year. Currently, MNPS protocols deem masks as optional.

“We’ve been through a terrible 18 months, but we’ve worked hard to protect ourselves,” said Bev Whalen-Schmeller, school psychologist for MNPS. “Now the Delta variant is more deadly than any before. We can’t risk losing everything because of carelessness in reopening schools. Masks should be required."

The education association survey also found that nearly 66% of teachers wanted a mask mandate. As previously stated this week by House Speaker Cameron Sexton, he said the legislature would challenge any district who imposed one. However, the MNPS Board of Education will meet Thursday to discuss any updated guidelines to its current ones.

“After a year of uncertainty and going back and forth between virtual and in-person, we need our students to be in the classroom,” said Paula Pendergrass, vice president of MNEA. “But we need to keep them safe. The pandemic is not over. The Delta variant is more dangerous. Children have already died. Given that, it’s unconscionable that the district would fail to act to prevent it from happening here.”