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‘Dead students can’t learn,’ say teachers hosting ‘Die-In’ vigil

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    Nashville, TN (WSMV) — Ahead of Governor Bill Lee’s press conference on Tuesday providing an update on school reopening plans, teachers and other community members held a mock funeral procession outside the Governor’s Mansion.

“If teachers die, we’re already in a teacher shortage, who’s going to be educating the kids once that happens?” said Carver Lee.

Lee isn’t a teacher now, but she used to be.

“Teaching is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever been in,” said Lee. “I was not emotionally equipped to deal with a lot of the issues that were going on.”

She joined the groups Tennessee for a Safe Return to Campus and the Metro Nashville Education Association, along with other teachers and parents, to make the statement.

“You might have teachers who are sick, forced to go into work because they’re trying to make those hours, or they don’t have substitutes which is a huge problem and now everybody is in a school, stuck together sick,” said Lee.

Tiffany Brittenum from Sumner County was also there. She has two children in the school system.

“I have just been panicking not only for my own children but for the teachers. The teachers do so much for the community,” said Brittenum.

Though the procession was partly organized by MNEA, they said they’re very happy with the steps Metro Schools has taken towards reopening, which includes being online-only through at least Labor Day. They held the event hoping other school districts might take the same actions to protect students and teachers.

“We know that online education is not ideal but we’re in the middle of a pandemic, a lot of things are not ideal,” says MNEA President Amanda Kail. She continues, “We can’t wait for teachers and students and our families to get sick before something changes. We can’t wait for the first deaths to happen. It’s not acceptable to us. We want to see people protected on the front end and we want to make sure that you know the infection rate in whatever area that school district is in is safe.”

Not only are there concerns for the health and well-being of the students and teachers in the schools from, there’s concerns about bringing the virus home into families.

“We just can’t keep people safe in this scenario,” said Kail. “Even with masks, our buildings don’t have the capacity to have the social distancing. Our kids are kids. We can’t expect them to wear masks all day long. Adults won’t do it so why would we expect kids would.”

News4 reached out to the Governor’s office regarding the “die-in.”

“As the governor has said, allowing parents a choice in their child’s education, whether that be virtual or in-person, is incredibly important. The Department of Health and Department of Education have been working diligently to ensure that districts have the PPE and other supports needed for a safe reopening of schools. The governor and those departments will be giving a full update on reopening plans at tomorrow’s press conference at 4 p.m.”

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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