NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A group is holding a die-in vigil and funeral procession as they believe teachers and students will die if they go back to school right now.
While students in Metro Schools will start the school year with virtual learning, other districts in Tennessee are not. “There’s no reason to put people in this kind of danger.”
Amanda Kail, the president of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, thinks communities should do online school until there’s been no new COVID-19 cases for fourteen days.
“We just feel like there’s not enough being done to protect people right now,” Kail said.
She said one of her elderly teacher friends is scared to go back to school. “That teacher is working in a district where there’s really not any protections at all, and it’s terrifying.”
Kail said the MNEA and the Tennessee For a Safe Return to Campus group is hosting the die-in vigil and funeral procession in hopes that lawmakers will help districts get more funding to buy personal protective equipment. “But that part must be met because if it’s not, we’re going to see educators, and students, and their families fall ill, be hospitalized, and probably die.”
She fears there will be COVID-19 outbreaks at several Tennessee schools. “How does a paraprofessional in a special education classroom with pre-k, how do they social distance? For students with autism how do we make sure they’re wearing masks?”
Teachers want to make their views and concerns known before it's too late. “If the infection rates are going up, then it is not safe to send people back to school.”
Their event is 7/27 at the farmer’s market at 5p.m. The event’s logo is ‘Dead students can’t learn, dead teachers can’t teach.’
All of their requests:
1. We demand that all education stakeholders call for ONLINE instruction until there have been 14 days with NO new cases in our counties.
2. Additional technology for students to equitably access digital curricula.
3. Sufficient, disposable PPE for all school staff and students upon return to campus.
4. Mental health professional access to help students heal from the traumas of this pandemic and the readjustment to campus life socially and emotionally.
5. Access to broadband/internet for all students regardless of socio-economic background.
6. Our demands are INTRINSICALLY tied to the movement for racial justice, as Black and Brown folks have been disproportionately borne the brunt of this pandemic and will continue to do so with ineffective leadership