On Monday, dozens of educators caravanned through downtown Nashville calling for schools to stay closed until counties had no new cases for two weeks. Their intended audience is Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee, who has left the decision to resume in-person classes to individual districts.
Teachers around the country are holding “die-ins” and writing living wills, saying “dead teachers can’t teach.”
“Stand up, fight back,” teachers in Nashville chanted outside the Nashville Farmers’ Market.
Nashville’s protest was coordinated with others around the country organized by teachers unions. But the resistance isn’t just union-led.
Kristen Morjal is a first-grade teacher in Marshall County, where she was “teacher of the year.” She spoke at a press conference this week to advocate for a statewide mask mandate.
She also says she’s not sure she’ll return to the classroom when her district resumes Aug. 3.
“I’ve been trying to weigh my options,” she says. “I have no desire to leave the profession. I’m not looking to quit. It’s something I’ve put my heart and soul into for 10 years, and I plan to do it until retirement. But I am looking at a short-term leave to protect my health and the health of my family.”
Gov. Bill Lee has let local districts make their own decisions about how to restart instruction. But he’s also said in recent days that parents should have an option to send their kids to school, if at all possible.
Several districts that planned to return in-person have backtracked in recent days, with Wilson County delaying the start date. Williamson County Schools decided to have all but the youngest students start virtually next month.