Collierville Schools’ parents demanding 5-day, in-person instruction; how SCS virtual decision impacts municipal schools

Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 6:58 PM CDT
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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - So far no municipal school districts in Shelby County have followed Shelby County Schools’ lead in switching its reentry plan to all virtual. In fact, in Collierville, a group is fighting for a traditional, five-days-a-week in-class model.

Some Collierville Schools’ parents are now demanding they get a choice to send their children back to class for five days a week after the district got rid of that option and switched the choice to be between a hybrid model or virtual learning.

“We should go back to school five days a week really soon,” said Collierville Schools student Madison Rice.

“The neighbors were livid when they found out there wouldn’t be a five-day option,” said Collierville Schools parent Brett Buckhold.

“There’s a lot of research to back up if kids don’t go to school five days a week the achievement gaps become wider,” said Anne Calderwood, also a Collierville Schools parent.

Collierville Schools originally had an option of a traditional schedule using the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations of three to six feet of social distancing, but on Friday the Shelby County Health Department said the distance had to be at least six feet.

So, the district’s plan was changed to a hybrid model: two days in class, three days virtual, or a 100% virtual option.

“Our district size is very large compared to other municipalities,” said Collierville Schools Public Information Officer Mario Hogue. “We just didn’t feel comfortable saying we could meet the six feet requirement.”

To reach that requirement and keep a traditional model as an option, Hogue said nearly half the district would need to pick the 100% virtual option. Families have until Aug. 2 to make their decision, but Hogue said as of now, about 16% of the district has enrolled in the Collierville Virtual Academy.

Details in nearly all of the Shelby County municipal school districts’ plans have changed since first being released. On Monday the largest of them all, Shelby County Schools, switched its plan to an all-virtual plan.

WMC reached out to all of the other six municipal districts to see if they may follow suit.

Lakeland School System said, “Our return to school plan was reviewed and deemed acceptable by the Shelby County Health Department, and we will proceed according to plan barring some new directive.”

Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman even sounded off saying just because SCS chooses a certain model doesn’t mean everyone else will, and told the town to trust Arlington Community Schools leadership. ACS says, their plan will remain the same with school starting on Aug. 17.

Collierville Schools did not comment on if SCS’s plan would affect the district’s plan.

“All I can say is things are constantly changing, information is constantly changing,” said Hogue.

Millington Municipal School District said asking if SCS’s plan would affect its plan is the right question to ask, but the district would need to talk to stakeholders before any change is made to the plan.

At the time this story was published, Germantown Municipal School District and Bartlett City Schools had not returned a request for comment.

We will update this story if that changes.

Related | Shelby County municipal schools release re-entry plans for 2020-21 school year

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