School is back in session across Shelby County; Some parents are wary as COVID cases continue to rise


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s back to the classroom for many students across Shelby County, but the resurgence of the coronavirus is causing concern.

Parents emotions vary, as the contagious Delta variant spreads in the area.

“I’d rather teach them at home,” said SCS parent Brandy Smith.

“They’re all wearing masks again, so we’re just going to do what we can. Hope for the best,” said another SCS parent, Martez Willis.

Shelby County Schools leaders held back to school events over the weekend. The events included last minute registration, handing out school supplies and getting children 12 and older vaccinated.

“We think that we are absolutely ready to receive our students and provide instruction in a safe environment,” said Angela Hargrave, Student Equity Enrollment & Discipline Exec. Director.

The goal is to have a safe environment for students and faculty, which will consist of social distancing, sneeze guards on desks and tables, sanitizing stations, cleaning common areas twice a day, and bathrooms at least four times a day.

SCS will also require masks, regardless of vaccination status. Something they mandated before the health department released a new directive requiring mask mandates at all public and private schools countywide.

Even so, Arlington Community Schools already announcing Sunday night Donelson Elementary is delaying the start of school to next Monday because COVID has spread among staff. They say custodial crews will deep clean the building.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are weighing in about school safety.

Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer announced on Twitter she will present a resolution on Monday to spend $2 million on to provide heavy duty, washable masks for students in the county. She said the mayor’s office spoke with “each superintendent who identified this was a serious need”

And state senator Brian Kelsey posted on Twitter, he’s not opposed to a special session to rein in the power of local health departments, and he referenced Shelby County requiring children to wear masks.

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