NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Nashville Public Schools will be closed at least through April 3, 2020, in response to the public health emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19. Governor Bill Lee announced today that he is asking schools throughout the state to remain closed through the end of March.
“Ensuring the well-being of our students and staff is our top priority in how our district responds to the COVID-19 state of emergency,” said Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle. “We appreciate Governor Lee taking the first step of flexibility for districts by urging for all schools to remain closed throughout the month of March, and we’ll be closely monitoring the situation to determine when it will be safe to reopen our schools.”
Metro Schools closed on March 12 and 13 over concerns about the coronavirus and are closed this week for Spring Break. Dr. Battle has advised central office staff to work from home whenever possible in order to practice social distancing and limit the potential for exposure and community spread of COVID-19. Metro Schools will also be closing off facilities to any outside groups except those offering emergency assistance to students and families.
Third-quarter grading and assessments have been postponed until further notice. Details will be available for students and staff once the decision is made to resume schools. Additionally, Dr. Battle has called on the State of Tennessee to give more flexibility on how districts can plan for the remainder of the school year, particularly regarding waivers for state-mandated instructional days, instructional resources, testing, etc…
“We are all being tested by the COVID-19 public health crisis and the impact of the tornadoes,” said Dr. Battle. “Our focus should be giving students and teachers time to heal from what have been two back-to-back traumatic experiences in Nashville, and the state should give districts the flexibility to address their needs.”
MNPS will be partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to provide food boxes to families in need throughout the county this week. Starting next week, Nutrition Services will be offering grab-and-go lunches for students who need meals during the extended closure. Meals will be offered through the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) program and will be free to children who need them. Under the rules of the program, students must be present to claim the meals. Guidance from the TN Department of Education has stated that this program is not available during the regularly scheduled spring break. Details on dates, times, and locations will be announced in a follow-up release.
“Closing schools for an extended period of time is a difficult decision, because so many students and families rely on our services in their daily lives,” said Dr. Battle. “We’re working as a district to continue to identify ways to reduce the impact of school closures on families most in need during this difficult time in our society. We’ll be sending out regular updates with information including instructional resources that will provide educational opportunities for students while out of class.”
The Metro Nashville Board of Education meeting scheduled for March 24, 2020 has been cancelled by Board Chair Anna Shepherd.
For more information and updates about how MNPS is responding to the COVID-19 crisis, visit www.mnps.org/health.