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It’s time for Shelby County Schools to start planning to go back to the classrooms

Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on COVID-19 and Shelby County Schools.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Without question, the coronavirus pandemic has turned our lives upside down. And nowhere is that more apparent than with Shelby County Schools.

SCS students have been in virtual classes since late August, and there is no doubt it has had a negative impact on learning. In addition, athletes in the district are particularly unhappy that fall sports have been put on hold, and dozens of high school football players have enrolled in other schools where games are being played.

But despite all of this, there is still no definitive timeline for when SCS students will return to the classroom. Several county school board members told the education news web site Chalkbeat – that January is likely the earliest that school buildings will reopen. Others say they are waiting on a specific plan for reopening from Superintendent Joris Ray. He has indicated that a gradual reopening would start with younger students first.

The school district has done its best to keep students, faculty and staff safe while continuing to hold classes online. But even with the best efforts, more than two dozen faculty and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks, and cases countywide are expected to go up as temperatures get cooler.

But we need a plan soon for opening schools, because I believe students are falling farther behind in their studies, which is unfortunate for everyone involved. And that’s my point of view.

Shelby County Schools offers educational and employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, creed, age, disability, national origin, or genetic information.

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