MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In order to serve the children and families of Shelby County effectively, Shelby County Schools (SCS) believes it is essential to return to the classroom. On Monday, July 6, the District announced its comprehensive S.A.F.E. Re-Entry Plan for the 2020-21 school year.
The plan was shaped largely by the input of our educators and families, which has provided valuable insight into the needs of our students. Additionally, this plan carefully follows the guidance of health officials, the SCS School Board and experts in a variety of fields who served on our Re-Entry Task Force to ensure adequate flexibility and caution due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 virus.
SCS has worked to help families understand the options being offered for student learning this year. Beginning Monday, June 6 at 10 a.m., parents are able to choose from two learning options for the fall semester: a fully in-school option and a full virtual option. If a parent does not make a choice by July 18, the student will be enrolled in the in-school option for the fall. All parents will have an opportunity to re-evaluate their choices after the fall semester. Parents can make this choice via PowerSchool. Regardless of the format parents select, our commitment is that the instructional content will remain consistent, continuous and high quality.
The S.A.F.E. Re-Entry Plan outlines the following points and precautions in greater detail:
- The 2020-21 school year will begin August 31 for all students (pending Board approval) based on the Governor’s extended state of emergency declaration through August 29 due to rising cases of COVID-19.
- Face masks will be required for students, staff and visitors in all buildings and on buses when school begins. Mask requirements may change over time due to the latest guidance from health officials.
- At schools and in central office buildings, social distance will be practiced with as much caution as possible. SCS recognizes there may be challenges at times due to building size or student population size, but schools will be utilizing all available classroom and learning spaces and making necessary modifications to help ensure social distancing to every extent possible.
- All students will be provided a digital device and provided with internet supports as needed. As part of the recently approved 1:1 Digital Device Plan, devices will be distributed to students without access at home in early July based on grade level.
- SCS will not administer or require COVID-19 tests for teachers or students. However, there will be regular temperature checks and the District will ensure all people inside schools and office buildings are symptom-free. All students and staff who are not feeling well will be strongly encouraged to stay at home.
The full plan is posted on the SCS website at scsk12.org/safeplan, along with FAQs for teachers and families.
This year will be unlike any the District and our families have ever experienced, SCS will continue to make decisions with the guidance of the Health Department and the CDC and using the best data direction available. SCS is committed to keep our staff, families and community informed along the way.