Shelby County Schools returns to 100% in-person learning

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 3:22 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The largest school district in Tennessee headed back into the classroom Monday.

“We’ve returned stronger. Our students, you see, they are eager to learn but we’re focusing on the first two weeks of school. We’re focusing on social, emotional learning,” said Shelby County Schools (SCS) Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray.

SCS is back to 100 percent in-person learning this year. It’s the first time all students were back in school buildings since March 2020.

With the spread of COVID-19 rising, parents say they are concerned.

“I am scared, I am terrified, I’m just being honest with you,” parent Nakita Franklin said.

“I’m concerned because they are no longer checking temperatures and with the Delta variant being so high and prevalent in this area, Marion schools being all quarantining, it’s making me anxious,” Franklin said.

The district is requiring all students and staff to wear masks. Social distancing in classrooms, hallways, common spaces will be enforced.

“Prepared them mentally to be cautious of what they are doing, and follow all the procedures and protocols,” parent Corey Travis said.

Students say they are excited to be back, “It’s been one and a half years and I can actually talk to my teachers and friends,” said fifth-grader Christian Stinson.

Another student says learning in person is better and easier than virtual.

“It was definitely rough because we had to stay locked up in our house,” said fifth-grader Megan Wright.

A big concern for the district is learning loss. SCS is changing its teacher-student ratio to 13 to 1 for grades k-2. The district is also adding more assistants and students will have access to tutors before, after, and during school.

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