Shelby County health leaders work with task force to safely reopen schools

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s uncharted territory finding the best way for children to learn in Shelby County schools during a pandemic.

The debate is over in-person versus stay-at-home learning this fall.

“There is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety out there on behalf of parents, physicians and everyone in between,” said Dr. Jason Yaun, general pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

The district created the SCS re-entry task force that includes parents, a student and business, faith and health experts at Le Bonheur.

“From what the academy of pediatrics has stated recently is that all conversations should start with the goal of children being physically present at school,” Dr. Yaun said.

As a parent and pediatrician, Dr. Yaun has had this conversation with his own family and patients. His children will be returning to the classroom.

“I think if we can really try to get children in school because there are so many benefits as far as the academic side, their social emotional health and physical activity and nutrition,” Dr. Yaun said.

But some parents will still feel safer with at-home learning.

“You have to take it individually for children who have healthcare needs and how we can think about them functioning in the school system, and are there parents and other people in the home who are high risk that we have to consider?” Dr. Yaun said.

Parents face tough decisions as the July 18 SCS deadline approaches.

“I think being as informed as you can and realistic as you can in making that decision and really looking at what’s the best for your child,” Dr. Yaun said.

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