MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Memphis Shelby County Schools are running their summer school program for hundreds of students that run the risk of repeating second grade under a new reading policy.

The new reading policy is designed to promote literacy skills but hundreds of parents have still not enrolled their children in the program leaving them to repeat the second grade.

“They have to pass those tests in order to go on to the next grade. So, what could happen is they end up having to be retained in third grade and they’ll still be faced with the same dilemma of having to attend a summer learning program” Dr. Althea Greene, Vice Chair MSCS Board of Education, said.

Of more than 8,100 second graders in the district, 4,500 of them are not reading at the districts required level.

The reading policy is called the Third Grade Commitment, similar to a statewide reading intervention and retention plan.

This is a prime example of the impact COVID 19 has had on the learning process for many individuals state Senator London Lamar said.

“What we have to do as a state and a local government is ensure that we are providing parents all the necessary resources they need to help their children at home be prepared for school” Senator Lamar said.

Many parents have enrolled their children who didn’t meet the requirements in summer school classes and why the school board leaders have sent out an S.O.S to parents.

“I want them to be so alarmed that they show up tomorrow at one of our schools saying I didn’t realize that I needed to get them in the summer learning program. We will welcome them” Dr. Althea Green said.

The MSCS summer classes began on June 13 and wrap up July 15 but school leaders are still encouraging parents to get their children signed up.