SCS students, teachers return to in-person learning Monday

Updated: Feb. 28, 2021 at 7:39 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Schools will begin welcoming some students to in-person learning for the first time since closing schools one year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The day some parents, students and even teachers have been waiting for is finally here.


Parents had the option of choosing to send their students back to in-person learning.

For those students who will be returning to the classroom, the experience will be a lot different than they remember.

Almost one year to the day after Shelby County Schools closed classrooms, on Monday teachers will finally welcome students in pre-K through 5th grade back to in-person learning.

“I am filled with immense joy and pride,” said Dr. Joris Ray, Shelby County Superintendent. “We are excited and we are ready.”

This past week, SCS said they achieved their goal of vaccinating 6,000 teachers and staff members, allowing every teacher the opportunity to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This was a monumental achievement in our journey,” said Ray.

On Saturday, SCS hosted the first of two community town halls to discuss their “Return Stronger” plan.

In the town hall, SCS leaders answered questions and explained the steps being taken to bring teachers and children back to classrooms safely, such as temperature checks every morning.

“All students and staff will undergo a temperature check. Anyone with a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees will be sent home and safe rooms will be used until guardians arrive,” said Ray.

Students will be required to bring their devices to school.

Lessons will still be taught on Microsoft Teams to accommodate students who are learning from home.

Masks will be required for students and staff at all times, but mask breaks will be given at times outdoors.

Students will be asked to remain socially distant as much as possible on the bus, in classrooms, in the hallways and during lunch breaks.

“It is a process, it’s a protocol that we will be following,” said Dr. Angela Whitelaw, SCS Academics Deputy Superintendent.

“And it’s going to be so hard, right? But we got to have people do is be safe,” said Dr. John Barker, SCS Operations Deputy Superintendent.

“Just be safe,” said Whitelaw.

Teachers WMC Action News 5 spoke to this week as vaccinations were on-going have mixed emotions about returning to in-person teaching with the pandemic still on-going.

“I’m anxious yet nervous,” said Tiffany Reed, SCS Teacher.

“I feel very comfortable about going back the buildings have been cleaned well,” said Vonda Stites, SCS Teacher.

“I think the vaccine is going to give us a lot of coverage with just the one vaccine. I would have preferred we could be fully vaccinated before we all went back in,” said Dr. Camille Collins, SCS Teacher.

SCS said they will also stagger recess and lunch times to allow for as much social distancing as possible.

Grades 6 through 12 will return to in-person learning March 8th.

For all the return to school policies and procedures visit here.

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