MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Summer school or year-round school? State and local leaders are looking at possible options to cover the learning losses of many students in Tennessee because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents say their students are having troubles with virtual and hybrid schedules. They are concerned about whether their children can catch up on what they have missed.
"It's definitely a concern as to, are all the children going to pick up at the same rate? Because obviously not all students have parents that come from the same educational background, so they are at a disadvantage," said Ashlea Swain.
Swain said her 16-year-old son Jayden is getting through his hybrid high school session at Millington Central, but she knows some students have a tough time learning virtually.
Tennessee State representative GA Hardaway said that's why lawmakers are already discussing what to do about students that are behind.
"If we don't develop strategic plans for catching those children up now, then we are going to lose them permanently," said State Rep. GA Hardaway (D-Memphis). "We are either going to have longer days, longer weeks, meaning more school days with longer school hours - or we are going to have to figure out year-round calendar for schools."
"If we can add extra instructional opportunities for our students, then I think we will find the money," said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.
Harris said addressing learning loss is one of his top priorities. The other is getting students safely back in a classroom full time.
Harris said plans are in the works to hold a joint Shelby County Schools meeting to talk about things like learning losses.
"If we don't do something about that learning loss, it's going to have reverberations for many years to come," said Harris.
"Our children are going to be so far behind when we finally do get into the physical classroom," said Hardaway.
That is what Swain is concerned about. She said her son will get through this year okay, but how students will do next year?
"My major concern is next year because I really don't think anyone will know how bad they were affected until they put them back in that environment again," said Swain.