Nashville’s teachers union asks Lee to keep schools online, issue statewide mask mandate

Posted at 1:58 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 15:02:11-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Nashville’s teachers union says it wants Gov. Bill Lee to “do more” to protect school employees and students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA) officials said Monday that the union joined other educators, parents and students across the state in a car caravan in downtown Nashville "to get their point across."

MNEA says it’s asking Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn to keep schools online until the "health data supports returning to buildings,” in addition to providing more funding for schools to help with online learning challenges and getting buildings ready for reentry.

The association is also asking Lee to issue a statewide mask mandate.

Amanda Kail, a middle school teacher in Nashville and President of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, said in a release that "teachers want to be back in the classroom," but "critical funding and support is lacking."

"If the Governor truly wants us back in the buildings, we need more support from the top. We need a statewide mask mandate to bring the infection rate down to where it is actually safe to be back in a building, and we need more funding and support to ensure every school district has what it needs for a safe for return. That means more than just providing masks and hand sanitizer. We need the funding to fix broken ventilation systems, increase salaries to recruit enough teachers to lower class sizes, and make sure every school in Tennessee is staffed with a nurse. It means having enough instructional materials that students don't have to share one class set set of books," she added.

During his COVID-19 update last Thursday, Lee announced the state would release the number of positive cases in schools via an online platform. It will display information on the district level, as well as the school level. Read more here.

Read more: MNPS will continue virtual learning until fall break