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Let Nashville Parents Choose

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Petition Revised 11/20/20 to reflect the most up-to-date information.

Let Nashville Parents Choose: We advocate for the full reopening all Nashville schools. We believe the overwhelming data (locally, nationally and internationally) that demonstrates that opening schools is safe. We also trust the guidance of the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci who have advocated for schools to reopen and to remain open.

As we head into the holidays we have much to celebrate, and even more that we are worried about.  MNPS failed to open schools on-time in August; then MNPS missed it's first reopening deadline after Labor Day and pushed elementary reopening to the start of Q2. In October we were thrilled that MNPS opened all elementary schools. By all reports the return to school was a great success. Unfortunately, MNPS chose not even try to reopen high schools; and cancelled the planned reopening of middle schools.  We are now bracing for a Thanksgiving - January closure.

Despite our fierce advocacy for reopening, we can understand MNPS's logic for a short-term holiday closure. Community spread has spiraled has increased dramatically OUTSIDE of schools. While schools remain the safest place to be, the district is navigating a high number of quarantines of staff due to potential COVID-19 exposure.  We know with better state and city leadership we might have avoided this crisis; and we know that MNPS needs to do more to prepare for scenarios like this.  But we get it.

We adamantly believe that ALL schools must reopen in early January!  We insist that MNPS uses December to prepare for a smooth reopening for grades K - 12.  And we demand that Mayor John Cooper get directly involved to ensure that all available Metro people and resources go ensuring MNPS is able to open.  Additionally, we urge Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn do everything within their power to ensure that Nashville's children receive in-person education - by supporting MNPS with rapid COVID-19 testing resources, meeting emergency funding needs and then insisting that MNPS reopen.

We are grateful for the tremendous effort put forward by ALL MNPS teachers, administrators and staff -- both those teaching in-person and virtually.  We believe that families are best positioned to decide what form of education is best for their children. Please prepare to reopen all schools in January and let Nashville parents choose.

 

Petition Revised 8/31 to reflect most up-to-date information.

Let Nashville Parents Choose!

Last Tuesday (8/25) the MNPS School Board and Director announced that Metro Schools would stay closed until at least October break This was came as a shock and disappointment.  Having already lost the entire month of August, we were hoping schools would open after Labor Day!  Last spring Nashville families were promised the choice between school or virtual learning.  That promise has now been reneged and delayed twice!  On top of this Metro has banned fall sports, which is a huge blow to student athletes who are watching their peers all over middle Tennessee play.

Open schools now! Let Nashville Parents Choose! Let Athletes Play!

Let Teachers Teach! Let Coaches Coach!

Metro even abandoned the promise to re-evaluate every 2 weeks.  This time the decision was punted 7 weeks! What gives!  Over the summer Metro suspiciously removed any mention of school re-opening from the phased reopening roadmap.  Now Metro is saying they can consider reopening if the Covid case count drops below 10/100K.  Well, there's good news - we are close to that and headed in that direction and all other Covid indicators are way better now than in July.  So, why wait until October to even begin considering a phased reopening?

We do not want anyone to have to go to school who doesn't wish to. And we want to ensure that teachers and staff have the supplies and materials needed to be safe. We believe that all teachers who have a health / family reason should be able to remain teaching virtually. We expect the district to prepare to follow all CDC guidelines.  It's time to MOVE and get ready for kids to return. Virtual learning is not working. We miss school.


 
--TEXT of ORIGINAL PETITION--
We believe school is ESSENTIAL to the educational, emotional, psychological health of children!  
 
We do not think our children can suffer through additional extended school closures.  As parents and community members we need schools to reopen on time and in person on August 4!  Our children's welfare comes first! We are also concerned the economy (and our jobs) can't withstand a delay in opening schools.
 
We applaud Dr. Battle's June 9 announcement that MNPS will open on time and in person, along with an at-home option for families who prefer distance learning.  This is a great start.  Please do not backtrack from this!  Keep the commitment to open MNPS in August!
 
We agree with America's pediatricians that schools must reopen: https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/
 
We are convinced by the science that shows children are neither active carriers nor spreaders of Covid-19, and that the overall risk to children is very, very small.  We believe that common-sense safety and cleaning measures can keep schools safe.
 
We have seen that New York daycares that remained open during March-May were NOT Covid-19 hotspots; and we have seen European countries keep elementary schools open safely.  We can do it too!
 
We think school should look as normal as possible.  We understand there are necessary safety measures that make a difference: 1) Required and frequent hand-washing and sanitizing; 2) Keeping visitors out of the building; 3) Reducing class transitions; 4) Serving meals in classrooms rather than cafeterias; 5) Having very clear sick / return-to-school policies; and 6) Thorough facility and material cleaning protocols.  We understand that some schools may require masks; we ask only that equally-protective face shields be allowed as an alternative option.
 
We believe elementary students should be in school for a regular 5-day, full-day schedule.  We believe middle / junior HS students can return to a mostly-typical schedule, but they are more independent and can navigate schedule/programmatic changes as needed.  We understand HS may require more flexibility.  We believe HS students should be on-campus as much as possible for in-person instruction, for meetings with advisors, counselors, and for sports and other extra-curricular activities. 
 
We believe a fully-supported, full-credit at-home option should be available for all students for the entire school year. Families who do not feel safe returning, or who have immune-compromised children or relatives should not lose out on education opportunities.  Teachers who have a medically-valid reason for not returning to school can staff at-home classes by teaching remotely from home.  We do not want to imperil anyone who cannot return to school.  We love our teachers and we believe we can reopen safely for them.
 
We demand that city and state leaders continue to work with Comcast, Verizon and other internet providers to ensure that every MNPS family who needs it has free or affordable wireless access and use of a computer!  (Internet is a public utility no less important than water and electricity!)
 
We understand that a return to Phase-1 or a spike in cases may require a targeted, short term closure of some or all MNPS schools; and we understand that hours and programs may need to vary slightly to allow for thorough daily cleaning.  We believe that all staff members must exercise extreme caution and safety as adults play a much more significant role in spreading Covid-19 than children do.
 
We believe in science and are deeply concerned about the recent (late June/early July) spike in cases. We support the decision of the Mayor and Health officials to require adults to wear masks in public; and support all efforts to prevent, contain and trace the spread of Covid-19 with the goal of opening the most essential of public service - our schools!
 
In addition to the American College of Pediatrics, Canada's top children's hospital published a comprehensive report to re-open schools - MNPS leaders should read, internalize and follow this best-in-class advice: https://www.sickkids.ca/PDFs/About-SickKids/81407-COVID19-Recommendations-for-School-Reopening-SickKids.pdf
 
Here are Lessons Learned from Daycares that stayed open without incident: https://www.npr.org/2020/06/24/882316641/what-parents-can-learn-from-child-care-centers-that-stayed-open-during-lockdowns 
 
And watch this NBC News segment in which doctors explain why they would send their own kids to back to school: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/back-school-what-doctors-say-about-children-covid-19-n1233550
 
Thank you!
 
Metro Nashville Public School Parents
 
 



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