Shelby County Schools introduces new way to keep parents informed of COVID-19 cases

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 11:07 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Schools (SCS) is entering its third week of school.

Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said after numerous phone calls and emails from concerned parents about the safety of schools during the pandemic, Tuesday, the district announced a new tool to help them remain transparent about COVID at SCS.

Just before the start of the meeting, the district announced an online COVID-19 dashboard that will provide weekly updates of reported cases.

In the past two weeks, the state’s largest school district reported nearly 550 COVID-19 cases among students and staff.

However, the new online tool does not offer a breakdown of cases in individual schools, citing privacy concerns.

SCS school board member Stephanie Love suggested having parents sign a document, acknowledging they understand the district’s COVID-19 protocols.

“And we still have people who either they have tested positive for COVID or their children have tested positive, and they’re still sending their children to school. And I know we can’t stop everything, but if there is some way we can put something on paper, just the requirements,” said Love.

The district still requires masks inside all SCS buildings, despite the governor’s executive order that allows parents to opt out of wearing masks.

Ray said there is no wiggle room regarding a hybrid learning option.

Tennessee lawmakers passed legislation essentially banning virtual learning similar to what was done last year.

“SCS must comply with the law as we continue to push legislators to allow local control,” said Ray.

School board member Kevin Woods also asked for vaccination rates for employees to be added to the dashboard.

Ray said he would look into all of the board members’ suggestions.

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