Unless Nashville sees a dramatic turnaround, elementary students in Metro Schools will likely be back home learning virtually after Thanksgiving break.
Given the current worsening of coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations, superintendent Adrienne Battle says she wants to prepare families now for the return to virtual schooling on Nov. 30.
“I am seeing the daily case counts and becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the direction we are headed with the virus,” she writes in a letter to parents. “I know that many family members and staff really want us to maintain or expand our in-person learning options when it is safe to do so, and I count myself among them.”
She says in a letter to parents she’s also worried about how many students will be attending family gatherings without masks and social distancing over the holiday break.
But if cases escalate further in the next few days, Battle says it’s possible that students may have to return to remote learning immediately. On Monday, Tennessee announced nearly 8,000 new cases — a record day by more than 2,000.
Metro Schools has tracked nearly 350 coronavirus cases, with roughly 200 being staff members. And while early on it appeared most people were contracting the virus outside of school, the district now says there is indication of transmission within schools.
Middle schoolers in Nashville had already been delayed from returning to in-person class as scheduled last month. And high school students were not going to meet until January.
On Monday, Maury County Schools decided to pivot to virtual learning because more than 1% of the county’s population has an active case, which is a threshold the district set at the first of the semester.
The district already started the week with four schools all-virtual and two more with entire grades staying home.
Remote learning begins immediately — with no word on when in-person classes might resume.
Across the state, dozens more schools have closed their physical doors recently. In Middle Tennessee, that includes Green Hills High School in Wilson County, McFadden School of Excellence in Rutherford, and Byars Dowdy Elementary in the Lebanon Special School District.
Sumner County Schools has also extended its hybrid learning schedule into next month for older students.
WPLN’s Rachel Iacovone contributed to this report.