Online or in person? Shelby County Schools leaders seek feedback before students return in August

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County students will be heading back to class on August 10, but it’s not clear if they will return to school in-person or online.

The announcement came Monday night after the Shelby County School Board hosted one of its three listening sessions to get input from parents on the district’s re-opening plan.

About 12,000 parents took SCS’s online survey about reopening, and 43% of them are in favor of students going back to school virtually.

“I’m thinking, ‘okay, my son’s going to school, but he doesn’t have the virus. Alright, and somebody could come to school, and then they have the virus,” parent Linda Peguvs said.

Superintendent Joris Ray said the district would take their views into account but couldn’t promise which way the district would go.

“At the end of the day, we’re gonna follow the guidance of the Health Department, and we’re gonna allow science to dictate our next moves,” Ray said.

To make virtual learning more accessible, each student will be getting a laptop in either September or October, Ray said.

Students may also be getting a face shield if they end up meeting in-person.

SCS board member Michelle McKissack wore one provided by SCS at Monday’s presentation.

“It takes a little bit of getting used to it in terms of just like psychologically like, ‘Oh, do I look silly?’ But it works,” said McKissack, who added that it was less restrictive than a face mask.

The district will host two more listening sessions this week: one Wednesday at American Way Middle School and another Thursday at Ridgeway Middle School. Both presentations begin at 5:45 p.m.

Only 25 attendees are allowed at each meeting. The districts are also streaming the meetings online.

Parents who attend, like on Monday, will have to submit to temperature checks and health questionnaires. The same would be required for students if they head back to class in August.

For parents who still want to take the district’s online survey, you can click here.

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