Metro Nashville Public Schools has set the dates for Nashville students to begin returning to the classroom in mid-October, and the district is giving families three more days to decide whether to attend in person or remain virtual.
Director Adrienne Battle told teachers in an email on Sunday that she wants pre-K through second graders to have in-person classes the second week of October. Third and fourth graders would return to campus the next week, then fifth and six graders, followed by seventh and eighth.
High school students, however, aren’t expected to be back on campus until January. Battle said the district’s oldest students wouldn’t return before second semester, partially due to scheduling challenges, but also because they’re most likely to spread the virus.
“We would love to have our high schoolers back in our classrooms as soon as possible, but waiting until the start of the second semester is not only the safest option but also the least disruptive to the learning progress of our students,” Hunters Lane High School Principal Sue Kessler said in a press release. “My fellow principals and I appreciate the thoughtful and safety-driven approach to returning to schools presented by Dr. Battle.”
Proposed Schedule For Return To In-Person Learning:
- Tuesday, Oct. 13: pre-K through second grade (half days on Oct. 13 and 14)
- Tuesday, Oct. 20: third and fourth grade
- Tuesday, Oct. 27: fifth and six grade
- Wednesday, Nov. 4: seventh and eighth grade
- Thursday, Jan. 7: ninth through twelfth grade
This timeline is not set in stone, though. Battle says the post-fall break return to the classroom will happen only if Nashville continues to make progress with its COVID-19 numbers.
“I believe this phase-in schedule can result in a safe and thoughtful return to school for students,” Battle said. “In order to make this happen, we need all community members to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks and social distancing whenever possible.”
Some students are expected back in the classroom even sooner. Special education students will have the option to attend in-person classes by Sept. 23. About 700 will be learning face-to-face by the end of the month.
But, even once school buildings open, all families will still have the option to keep their kids at home for virtual learning. Parents now have until this Friday to fill out a survey letting administrators know whether they plan to send their children to school.
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member. Damon Mitchell contributed reporting.