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An alarmed Metro Nashville Public Schools director announced the system may halt all in-person learning after the Thanksgiving holiday if not before.

Director of Schools Adrienne Battle said Nov. 16 she is “increasingly uncomfortable with the direction we are heading with the virus.”

“In looking at those daily numbers, I’m also looking at four categories in the Metro dashboard for community spread – transmission rate, positivity rate, cases per 100,000 residents and 14-day new case trend,” she said. “As of [Nov. 16], three of four categories are in the red, and the positivity rate, while green, is still higher than we would like to see.”

Prior, Metro schools reopened in-person learning for students with exceptional needs in September, and elementary students returned to real classrooms in October. However, later in October, the phase-in classroom learning for middle schoolers was halted. High schoolers were scheduled to meet in person after the Christmas holiday.

If cases spiked and got drastically worse before Thanksgiving in Nashville, Battle left the option open to close before the holiday.

In the last few months, thousands of Metro students and staff members had to quarantine because they came in close contact with someone who was positive for COVID-19. According to school officials, there were 347 positive cases in the system –139 students and 208 staff –between Oct. 11 and Nov. 15.

Battle said nearly all the cases were contracted outside the schools.

“Though we are seeing an indication of confirmed and potential transmission at several of our schools,” Battle said. “Even if classroom spread is limited or unlikely, the reality is that we need teachers to teach, and the numbers of isolations and quarantines are taking a toll on our ability to staff classrooms.”

Battle lauded families and their students and staff for working to stop the spread by washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing. She said she realized the many sacrifices made since March and adapting for a different Thanksgiving holiday.

Main Street Nashville East went to press before Battles’ definitive decision on closure of in-person learning. Visit the MNPS website for the latest information.

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