Shelby County Schools (SCS) unveiled a detailed plan for in-person learning – but they haven’t offered any reopening dates or criteria. These updates were shared on Thursday by SCS Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray.
SCS also created several simulation videos for what their in-person schooling and transportation would look like. Masked students engaged in all their school activities socially-distanced, including meals. And, students who opt for in-person schooling would still have to learn through virtual instruction.
Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced Monday that phased in-person learning would begin this week. The news was presented at a press conference on Monday. MNPS Board Chair Christiane Buggs, MNPS Director Dr. Adrienne Battle, Meharry Medical College President and CEO Dr. James Hildreth, Meharry Medical College Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement Patrick Johnson, and Nashville Mayor John Cooper were present.
According to the reopening plan, special needs students at Genesis Academy and High Roads School of Nashville will return to classrooms on Thursday. Then, preschoolers, K-4 students, and those with exceptional needs may return starting February 9. Grades 5 and 9 may return on February 18, followed by grades 6, 7, and 8 on February 25. The last to return will be the remainder of high schoolers – grades 10-12 – on March 3.
Tuesday’s school board meeting made it clear that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) doesn’t have an exact date for getting kids back in the classroom. As in past weeks, Metro Nashville Board of Public Education reiterated that reopening would be contingent on the level of community spread charted by the city.
In a director’s report presented by District 6 representative Fran Bush, it was revealed that the current level of community spread sits at 8. Bush repeated the same information found on the MNPS website regarding reopening: in order to gradually reopen, the measurement needs to be at 7 or below.
Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Board Chair Christiane Buggs caught parents’ ire for continuing to keep schools closed in light of her activities in recent months. Shortly before the ongoing school closure began in November, Buggs hosted an election watch party and then vacationed internationally.
Buggs defended the board’s initial decision in the fall to adjust all schools to virtual learning. She described it as a necessity, explaining how her own father was concurrently battling COVID-19. Buggs explained that he was infected while working at one of their middle schools. She stated that preventing the spread was paramount to in-person learning, which she described as a “convenience.”
The Tennessee General Assembly convened for a special session to discuss learning loss and literacy reforms introduced by the governor’s office. State officials are proposing a series of reforms they dubbed “targeted intervention.” The first bill would establish a full-time tutoring core, after-school camps, learning loss bridge camps, and summer learning camps. Additionally, the second bill proposed a third grade “reading gate” to ensure students are prepared before entering fourth grade and that K-3 educators teach phonics as the primary form of reading, which would be complemented by a screening tool for parents’ use.
The impact of standardized testing also faces reforms. The third bill would keep the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) in place for the 2021 school year, but wouldn’t impose any negative consequences on student assessment. This would ensure that educators and families have a benchmark to assess student progress, but no teacher or district would face penalties based on those TCAP results. Under the fourth bill, the state would adjust the state budget to give pay raises to all teachers immediately.
A gathering of parked cars blared their horns as dusk fell over the parking lot. Parents arrived once more on a Tuesday evening to protest against distance learning at the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting.
After parents finished honking, they joined the meeting so that they can speak to the board directly. November 10th marked the fourth “Honk for Back-to-School” that parents and community members have attended. These individuals continue to protest the total distance learning at LCPS.
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) stated Monday in a press release that even children who test negative for the coronavirus must quarantine if exposed. The MDH’s “COVID-19 Attendance Guide for Parents and Families” explains these standards.
“Getting tested does not shorten the time that they must stay home. Your child must stay home for 14 days (quarantine) from the last contact they had with the person who tested positive for COVID-19, even if the child tests negative,” states the guide.
Metro Nashville reportedly sent nearly 6,000 truancy letters to the parents of students doing virtual learning, and one school board member says that is wrong and the letters should be “thrown in the trash.”
School Board member Fran Bush made the comment to The Tennessee Star on Sunday.
MNPS sent the truancy letters because of poor student attendance in distance learning, NewsChannel 5 said. The letters threaten legal action against parents or guardians of students who have five or more unexcused absences.
Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed American Federation for Children’s Tennessee Director Shaka Mitchell to discuss how families deserve education options for their children.
This week, educators and parents wait with bated breath on Governor Tim Walz’s upcoming decision on a safe return to schools. On the Facebook page, “Minnesota for a Safe Return to Campus”, the greatest concerns were mainly posted by educators. Death, unrealistic demands, a future lack of interest in teaching as a profession, and the inability to be with elderly loved ones were all consistent issues listed throughout the page.
A survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Education found that the majority of parents would feel comfortable sending their children back to school this fall.
Between June 15 and July 6, the agency collected more than 130,000 responses to the informal survey, which was offered in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. A total of 64 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable sending their children back to school in September. Of that 64 percent, 94 percent said they would send their children back to school full time.