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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Opinion | everyone wants schools open, but everyone should also want all to be adequately protected | Otis Sanford

Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view in the ongoing battle over reopening schools for in-person learning.
Credit: WATN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The debate over reopening Shelby County Schools to in-person classes is heating up. And one thing is clear - this is no longer an education and public health issue. It is also a political and business issue as well.

Governor Bill Lee has been pressuring the school district for weeks to return to the classroom. There have even been threats of funding cuts if SCS does not have at least 70 in-person class days this school year.

Now, Greater Memphis Chamber president Beverly Robertson has added her voice to the debate – stressing the need for the district to return to the classroom. Hers is a powerful and influential voice in Memphis, which is why her letter to Superintendent Joris Ray was tactful – yet emphatic that schools should be open.

As this debate continues, every responsible voice should be welcomed. And Robertson is certainly that. But the biggest factor that will determine when schools can reopen is when faculty and staff can get the COVID vaccine into their arms. And Monday we learned that their turn with the needle likely will be delayed until March.

I’ve said before, and I repeat, everyone wants schools open, but everyone should also want our community to be adequately protected from the virus. Superintendent Ray is making decisions in the best interest of students and the public, and we can’t ask for much more than that. And that’s my point of view.