Mayor John Cooper claimed on Thursday that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) may open up in the near future. He cited the downturn in local COVID-19 case metrics as the main indicator of this prediction, though he didn’t offer any specific timelines.
“[O]ur COVID metrics continue to improve,” stated Cooper. “We’re working with public health and MNPS to evaluate the timely and responsible return of an in-person learning option on a daily basis. Current case trends will allow MNPS to have an in-person option very soon.”
Cooper clarified that, although the area is experiencing an “optimistic trend” and steady progress with the vaccine rollout, the community’s disease numbers ultimately determine any possibility of phased in-person learning.
The mayor explained that the COVID-19 metrics in Nashville have been steadily improving. He shared that there were just over 4,700 total active cases, a 44 percent improvement January 11 peak of over 8,500 cases. According to Cooper, that panned out to an average of 58.2 cases per 100,000 residents, which is down from 72 cases per 100,000 last Thursday. Additionally, officials reported that hospitalizations have dropped by 36 percent from December peak, case fatality rate is half the national and state average, and the transmission rates are slowing down.
Metro Nashville and Davidson County Government Coronavirus Task Force Chair Dr. Alex Jahangir affirmed that the pandemic metrics have improved across the board. Jahangir added that at-risk individuals who were infected should consider seeking out monoclonal antibody treatments, offered in multiple facilities across the state.
However, Jahangir couldn’t offer any estimated dates for reopening schools either.
“I do think schools should reopen with the protocols and the resources that are needed in each situation and each school to reopen safely,” stated Jahangir.
Metro Public Health Department Interim Chief Medical Director Dr. Gill Wright reported that there no cases of the new COVID-19 variants have occurred to date in Nashville. Wright also claimed that the new variants are 30 to 70 percent more contagious.
Additionally, Cooper extended the curfew for bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to midnight rather than 11 p.m. CST, starting Monday, February 1. Those restaurants that don’t serve alcohol may resume all normal business hours – even up to 24 hours a day.
As of their latest school board meeting, MNPS hasn’t offered an estimated date for reopening schools.
– – –