Parents, students support masking at Safe Summer Block Party

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 9:57 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The countdown is on. In just over 2 weeks the state’s largest school district will be heading back to in-person learning.

Tonight, Shelby County Schools partnered with an organizer of a yearly event to get kids excited about going back to school.

It’s where city life meets farm life.

A camel, lama, goat and lemur are the main attractions at Artemis Peppa Williams’ 5th annual Safe Summer Back to School Block party.

But it’s not just a party, it’s also where parents and students can register for school, get immunized and grab goodies for a school year that’s like no other.

“I’m ready to go, however I’ll be honest I still have a slight concern about the COVID,” Ruby Elsberry grandmother of five kids in Shelby County Schools said

“Although I’ve had 3 of my grandchildren vaccinated because they are the age of 12 and over but the two young ones, I kind of have that concern because they don’t have that extra protection,” Elsberry said.

This week Shelby County Schools superintendent Dr. Joris Ray announced the district would continue to mandate masks to be worn inside all school buildings.

“I think its frustrating and you can’t breathe under the mask and it help you to stay safe,” student Zakyhia Linwood said.

Linwood will be a 5th grader this year and is too young to receive the COVID-19 shot.

Shelby County Schools officials say in addition to mandatory masks, they will also implement social distancing rules in the classroom, discourage sharing materials and other safety measures.

“Now we as board members, we’re going into our schools every day to check to see if everything we are saying we want in our schools are there, if the partitions are there, if we have enough masks,” SCS School Board Member Joyce Dorse Coleman said.

Elsberry says she supports the mask mandate, but she and her grandkids are still holding out hope that approval of vaccinations for children under 12 will come soon.

“As soon as they open the door for it, they asking me well you got to wait,” Elsberry said.

Children who are eligible can get vaccinated at the next Block party, where they will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine on sight.

Williams says they’ll be at Trezevant High school next Friday night from 5 p.m. to 7p.m.

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