MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More than 100,000 SCS students are at home in order to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Students are scheduled to return to school on April 6, but school leaders are not postponing learning.
“Our hybrid plan also includes virtual learning opportunities,” said Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray, during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
SCS officials are encouraging parents to go to their district website and click on the weekly learning guides that are broken down by grade level to help keep students on track. Parents and students can find the learning guides at www.scsk12.org.
However, computers may not be in every SCS student’s home.
Dr. Ray didn’t know how many students have no access to computers, but he did say 60% of all SCS students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
“This public health crisis has amplified the need for additional funding and investments to make sure we are equipped with technology and one-to-one devices to close the digital gap,” said Ray.
For those without access to the online study guides, printed copies will be handed out at the more than 60 food distribution sites on Monday and Tuesdays starting next week.
Meals will be provided Monday through Friday to all students 18 and under. The district will start handing out lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting Monday.
There’s also help for another issue school officials are running into.
“I’ve had many parents to reach out to talk about how their children are frightened by this virus,” said Dr. Ray.
Ray says Youth Villages will be providing mental health counseling for those that need it, but community psychiatrist Dr. Otis Anderson says there are things parents can do at home.
“I think the biggest thing to kind of relax some of the fears is to be truthful,” said Anderson.
Dr. Anderson says to tell kids exactly what’s going on, provide some sort of structure for their day and parents should try to stay calm.
“They often mimic the demeanor of their parents,” said Anderson. “So if the parents are a lot more chill and a lot more cool and collected, the kids will be as well.”
Superintendent Ray also suggests limiting students time on social media and watching television.
Ray says he’s been getting a lot of questions from students about prom and graduation. At this point, all he knows for sure is that all activities will be postponed until April 6.
When asked if there are any plans to cancel the rest of the school year, Ray said, “So we started to plan and to really think about what if this is really the end of the school year. But of course, that will be great consultation with state department of education, dynamic school board, but we’re not there yet.”
Here is a list of additional help for students and parents:
- Homework Hotline: 901-416-1234
- Parent Welcome Center: 901-416-5300
- Youth Villages: 855-274-7471