Some Kirby parents concerned after district splits up kids at new locations

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Wednesday will be a half-day for Kirby High School’s 800 students, who will finally be back in classrooms at Hickory Ridge Middle after a rat infestation kept their school closed for nearly two weeks.

But after that, it gets a little confusing.

Kirby's 800 students will have to complete work from home Thursday and Friday, and then split into two other schools starting Monday— 400 11th and 12th grade students will attend school at Kirby Middle and 400 9th and 10th grade students will go to DuBois Middle.

That has some parents worried about getting kids to school on time.

"They have to be at school at 7:15, so I have to figure out how to get both of my daughters in two different locations there at 7:15, and try to get myself to work at 7:30,” one parent said.

In an email Tuesday, district officials said they will go over transportation plans at an open house on Saturday. They said bus riders will get their bus stop information at the meeting. Shuttles will provide transportation to DuBois for students who normally walk. Students going to Kirby Middle will still be expected to walk.

Officials also said there could be issues mixing high school and middle school students in the same environment.

Natalia Powers, head of communications of communications for Shelby County Schools, said students of different grade levels will have different entrances, different start times and different lunch breaks.

In an email Tuesday, district officials wrote, "we are working with the administration team at Kirby MS and Greendot to ensure middle and high school students are separated within the location. Students will have separate entrances, lunch periods, bell time, etc. We are also ready to deploy additional officers to the locations to ensure we maintain our goal of safe schools."

Ray Rowland is proud of Kirby High. His three children are graduates and he still keeps up with the students he sees walking home in his neighborhood.

Rowland said he thought the best solution was obvious: "Just move classes into Hickory Ridge Mall”

But officials decided differently, because the mall does not meet instructional environment regulations needed for a school, per federal requirements.

"I really don’t think it will affect them at all,” Rowland said of the Kirby situation.

At least, he said, he hopes that's the case.

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