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MNPS asks parents, students to choose between virtual or in-person learning

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Posted at 3:37 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 07:48:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Public School parents will soon have to choose whether or not their child will be returning to in-person learning once the district decides to reopen classrooms.

On Tuesday, school officials announced in a press release that MNPS families will need to decide between virtual or in-person learning for "once it is safe to do so."

“We know some students and families are thriving in the virtual environment, while others are eager to return to the classroom,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Schools stated in the release. “We hope that the last month has given families enough information to decide what is best for their students.”

The decision will be made for the remainder of the year, with an option to update that decision prior to the start of the second semester in January.

Metro Schools began a phased-in approach in Sept. with exceptional needs students at special day schools and traditional schools. If Davidson County maintains its progress in slowing COVID-19, officials say, the district intends to invite students back through a gradual approach starting Pre-K through 2nd-grade students after fall break and starting with the second quarter.

The district sent emails to families through its vendor Panorama Education with the subject “Family Decision Survey” in their preferred language that is tied to their student’s record.

Officials said if a parent does not receive this email, they can take the survey by visiting one of the links below. Families have until September 15, 2020, to complete a separate survey for each student. Survey results will then be used by schools to allocate staff resources to match in-person staff with in-person students.

If parents do not send a survey response, the student will be automatically be placed in in-person learning. Students who remain in virtual learning will still be able to participate in their school’s extracurricular activities.

The surveys are for students who attend MNPS district-run schools and do not include charter schools, which have established their own policies and procedures.

“As students return to in-person learning, we want to create as safe an environment as possible while also remaining committed to providing students in the virtual environment a consistent, high-quality experience,” said Dr. Battle. “Our efforts to return to face-to-face learning require the entire community to pitch in and do our part by continuing to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and wear masks whenever possible.”

Students will be required to wear masks while learning in-person. Masks will be provided for them as well as staff. School officials say protocols to encourage social distancing and clustering will be implemented, but a six-foot distance will not be practical in most classroom settings. School nurses will help the Metro Public Health Department in contact tracing efforts and informing students and staff if they are required to quarantine.