Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy Awaits Metro Approval on Whether They Can Hold Commencement


Officials at Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy have scheduled commencement ceremonies for June 25, although they won’t disclose their specific plans for that event as the city is still in Phase Two of its COVID-19 recovery plans.

One of Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s sons, McGavock, is among the school’s 2020 graduates.

Headmaster Brad Gioia told The Tennessee Star Monday that school officials have submitted plans to the Metro Health Department for approval. He said Nashville officials might deliver an answer before close of business Tuesday.

“June 25 is when we would like to have graduation, but we have to have it approved,” Gioia said.

“The plans we have submitted are probably more in line with the Phase Three guidelines, which is when the graduation is — if we move into Phase Three.”

Gioia said that, ideally, 300 people will attend this year’s commencement. In a normal year, when there is no COVID-19, more than 2,000 people would come, he added.

Staff for Mayor Cooper did not return our request for comment before Monday’s stated deadline.

Sources told The Star they worried the school would have an outdoor commencement and that as many as 600 people would show.

As reported, Nashville officials laid out plans for phases two, three, and four last month:

• In Phase Two, businesses and restaurants can go to three-quarters capacity with certain guidelines. In addition, personal hygiene businesses like hair and nail salons will open but only for appointments, no walk-ins, and limited to 10 people inside the building at one time. Playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball courts will open. Other public gatherings, including worship services, will be limited to 50 people and with adherence to strict physical distancing protocols.

• In Phase Three businesses and restaurants will go to full capacity. In addition, bars and entertainment venues will open at half capacity. Gyms and fitness facilities will open. Other gatherings will be limited to 100, again with adherence to strict physical distancing protocols.

• In Phase Four, bars and entertainment venues will be at full capacity, and sport venues will open with adherence to physical distancing protocols and best practices.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected] 



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