Questions remain for SCS parents choosing between online and in-person classes


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools announced parents will be given the choice to either attend class in person or online in the fall, but there are still some questions about how this will work out.

The big choices were laid out in the district’s 2020-21 school re-entry plan.

Should a parent choose the fully in-school option, classes will be teacher-led at their child’s assigned school.

If they go fully virtual, that also includes daily teacher-led instruction, but at home. 

There will be the same curriculum and instruction policies for both formats.

But here is something important to think about: The plan says students will not be able to switch from one learning option to another after the school year begins, although they can re-evaluate their options at the end of the first semester. 

Sarah Carpenter, executive director of Memphis Lift, a group dedicated to helping families in Memphis area school systems, acknowledges many parents are afraid to send their children back into a physical classroom. 

But she has questions.

“We can choose, but who is going to train the parents the parents that are at home with the kids doing virtual learning?” Carpenter asked. “And then when you do train the parent who is going to be teaching the classes?” 

Her group has drafted a parent manifesto to the district with a list of demands like individualized learning and strong remote learning. 

The district has a long list of health and safety plans they will put in place for in-person instruction.

Parents can select what learning option they want for the first semester between July 6-18.

The district will also be announcing a digital device distribution process beginning in mid-July, followed by multiple online parent training to support learning at home. 

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