Online or in-person: Shelby County Schools plans to give parents options for upcoming semester


SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools, the state’s largest school district, and its superintendent said there are a wide range of families and students to consider when deciding how students will learn during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With over 100,000 students across 200 schools, SCS knows that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for COVID-19, as the school board discussed options Tuesday evening.

“Some families desire a return to a traditional school, others have embraced alternative approaches, such as virtual learning,” Superintendent Joris Ray said.

The district will attempt to provide both digital and in-person learning options this fall. Families will select a track, then begin a semester-long learning plan.

For those that choose to attend traditional school, there will be massive safety measures, including daily temperature checks and extra PPE.

Projected costs for COVID-19 expenses are expected to reach $7.5 million, but the district said it’s an investment in safety.

“Safety is priority,” Ray said. “We want to align school and staff decisions to Shelby County and Memphis’ back-to-business plan.”

In a recent survey given to all families in the district, 69% of parents claimed to support online learning. Those students will have live online teacher instruction every day, as well as virtual parent meetings available.

With plenty of details to still finalize, the district is asking for feedback from students and residents across the next two weeks before students decide how they’ll learn across, at minimum, the upcoming semester.

“We want your input,” Ray said. “We want community engagement. There’s a return to school commitment release next week. We would love the parents to start deciding.”

Shelby County Schools is required to submit their academic curriculums to the State of Tennessee during the week of July 24.

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