MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Four Shelby County municipal school districts and DeSoto County Schools are set to reopen Monday. For a few local districts, week one is already under their belts with some pains and successes along the way.
Lakeland School System and Millington Municipal School District were the first two Shelby County municipal school districts to reopen schools. They started on Monday. One school reported a COVID-19 case and some adjustments to protocols needed to be made, but overall leaders at the two districts are calling the week a success.
"I felt like the world was watching, yes," Lakeland Preparatory School Principal Matt Adler said.
Lakeland School System and Millington Municipal School District have gone somewhere no other public Shelby County municipal school district have been. They've opened during a pandemic.
"The new norm. The golden rule is wear your mask. Wash your hands six times a day," Millington Municipal School District Director of Schools Bo Griffin said.
"The biggest battle we thought we would have to fight is the masks and that's not a battle at all," Adler said.
About 80 percent of Lakeland's students are back in school. At Lakeland Preparatory School students are in cohorts of 15 with teachers moving from class to class.
Adler said some things were fixed from day to day including the line at drop off since fewer students are taking the bus.
"We made that real time adjustment and the car rider line ended at 7:55 instead of 8:20," Adler said. "That's a huge adjustment."
Griffin said this week the district worked to move some students from the hybrid schedule to an all virtual one upon request.
“We’re going to be very empathetic in that regard,” Griffin said. “If a parent wanted to make a switch we’re going to do it this week but this week only.”
Four days after reopened, Millington reported a COVID-19 case in its high school. The district said a contracted worker tested positive and groups had to be quarantined.
“We followed all the rules and guidelines [the Shelby Co. Health Department] gave us on the situation,” Griffin said. “We know it’s not if but when it’s going to happen.”
And it's that 'when' Adler is still aware of too.
“Every two weeks out we say, ‘are we still healthy,‘” Adler said. “We’re two weeks since in service and my staff is healthy. We are a week in school and we haven’t had any reported cases in school.”
"We may have different mascots at our school, but as superintendents our goal is to take care of our kids," Griffin said.
Schools in Bartlett, Arlington, Collierville and Germantown along with DeSoto County all start Monday.