Memphis private schools looking to health dept. for guidance on reopening

Private schools release re-entry plan wit guidance from health department

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Aside from reviewing reopening plans for public schools, private schools are also asking the Shelby County Health Department for guidance.

Albert Throckmorton, Head of St. Mary’s Episcopal School represents Memphis independent schools on the COVID-19 joint task force.

“Most independent schools are planning to open fully on-campus or with reduced populations, offering remote online or hybrid plans to reach all students,” " said Throckmorton. “Independent schools are able to make individual decisions because of the unique circumstances of each campus and small student-teacher ratios.”

St. Mary’s and Briarcrest Christian School are giving families an option between in-person or virtual learning.

“The parents that have opted in for the virtual learning that we are offering is less than 5% of our student population,” said Caron Swatley, President, Briarcrest Christian School.

The first day of school for St. Mary’s is Aug. 17. To read more about their plan click here.

The first day of school for Briarcrest is Aug. 12. To read more about their plan click here.

To ensure student safety Swatley says Briarcrest has implemented plenty of changes like:

  • Limiting student enrollment
  • Purchasing hepa filters for all classrooms
  • Installing water bottle stations to limit the use of water fountains
  • Designating hallway plans
  • Limiting lunch time to classrooms
  • Installing two isolation rooms for students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

“Our goal was to begin with a reopening plan that mitigates as many risks as humanly possible,” said Swatley.

St. George’s Independent School says their first day of school is Aug.17 and they will start in person. To read more about their plan click here.

Memphis University School says they are still putting the final touches on their plan.

Online, Christian Brothers High School says they will follow a hybrid learning model for the first quarter. To read more about their plan click here.

The Shelby County Health Department says private schools, “are required to report positive cases that come to their attention.”

The Health Department also says they don’t “decide whether or not a school system should or should not open. That decision is made by the individual school’s administration.”

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