Dr. Adrienne Battle

NASHVILLE, TN – Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle announced Monday that elementary schools might close right after Thanksgiving.

“I want to prepare families now for the likelihood that if we don’t see improvements in the citywide metrics as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we are going to ask those students who are attending in person currently (those in Pre-K-4 and students with exceptional needs) to attend virtually starting in two weeks on Monday, November 30. We would expect to be learning virtually for three weeks until the start of the Winter Break on December 17,” Battle said.

Three of the four metrics tracking how the virus is spreading in the community have moved into the red. Transmission rate, cases per 100,000 residents, and 14-day new case trend are high. On Monday, the positivity test rate was 6.1 according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Above 10 is bad.

Battle said the pandemic has become so widespread, it is becoming difficult to keep the virus outside of Metro schools. As we reported two weeks ago, the teachers’ union, MNEA, wants to end in-person teaching for at least the rest of the semester.

“Hundreds of staff and thousands of our students have had to quarantine as a result of being a close contact to someone who tested positive for the virus, while we’ve logged 347 positive cases (208 staff and 139 students) between October 11 and November 15.

Nearly all the cases have been contracted outside of the classroom or school, though we are seeing an indication of confirmed and potential transmission at several of our schools. 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.”

While she hopes the virus will slow down, Battle said MNPS could close schools before Thanksgiving if the situation becomes worse.

“Please prepare now to return to virtual learning on Monday, November 30, if we don’t see that improvement. We will let you know the final decision no later than Tuesday, November 24, before Thanksgiving break.”