Many Shelby County municipal school districts plan to continue current learning plans in early 2021

Mid-South schools rethink return to in-person learning in 2021

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In a year with a lot of change, many Shelby County Municipal School districts will remain the same in the start of 2021.

Collierville Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary Lilly stated that the district will be continuing in-person learning for elementary and middle school students. They hoped to bring all high school students back too, but decided to continuing the hybrid model.

“Then we’ll see what happens as we get toward the end of January. Possibly, if there is a spike in cases due to the holidays, then maybe that will give it an opportunity to subside,” he explained.

Lakeland School System Superintendent Dr. Ted Horrell shared similar reasons for why students will now resume school on Jan. 7 instead of the Jan. 4. He said in a message to parents that he hopes it will, “reduce the opportunities for spread of the virus following the holidays.” The district’s learning model will remain the same once school’s back.

Millington Municipal Schools will also keep their learning models the same with hybrid and virtual learning options.

Superintendent Bo Griffin said in a statement to WMC:

“MMSD has always kept our students’ and staff’s safety in the forefront of every decision we make. We believe that our decision making processes and subsequent plans have allowed our schools to safely and effectively educate our students amidst a global pandemic. From the beginning of this pandemic the leadership of MMSD has planned a structured model of education that best serves the needs of our students, staff and families. Moving forward, we plan to stay the course in this regard. Our school board and operations department have set us up to operate at maximum efficiency while following all of the mandates from the Shelby County Health Department. Every one of our classrooms and common areas are setup in a manner in which a 6 foot personal distance must be maintained at all times and masks are expected from all staff and students alike. If the Shelby County Health Department makes the difficult call to close schools, we will do so knowing that we have setup a solid structure of virtual/distance learning for our students. Our overall desire is to protect our children, physically and emotionally while providing a top-notch education.”

Bartlett City Schools announced that they would be pressing pause on parents’ enrollment choices for the time being due to cases in the county surging after Thanksgiving.

With cases in the teens for the Collierville School District, Dr. Lilly says their efforts to stop the spread continues to evolve.

“We are learning as we go like everyone is,” he said. “We feel pretty good about the mitigation practices that we’ve got on place. But we continue to look and see what else we can do.”

The dashboard showed Lakeland as the only municipal school district without any cases in the past two weeks; however, to ensure privacy, schools with fewer than 50 students are not included; and schools with fewer than five positive student or employee cases will be listed without a specific number.

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