SCS parent shares concerns about virtual learning, says son has ‘emotionally regressed’

Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 6:13 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - When will Shelby County Schools reopen for in-person learning?

So far, the district has not provided a date and pressure continues to mount on the district.

SCS parent Jazmin Taylor has been watching the debate over in-person learning and says while she understands the need to keep everyone safe, she worries about the harm being done to her son and other kids across the district from virtual learning.

Related | SCS board member: Where’s the plan for reopening?

“He’s usually just like a super free spirit,” said Taylor. “Now during school, he gets bored.”

Taylor says virtual learning has only created more problems for her son, who’s in an advanced second-grade class at Kate Bond Elementary.

“We have probably not gone an entire week without him having an emotional breakdown because of school -- during school, having to turn his camera off so he can go and cry for a minute,” said Taylor.

She says repeated technical issues have disrupted his learning process.

“We’ve averaged it to be about two hours of actual learning for an entire day. The rest of the time we listen to the teacher either have technical issues or listen to his classmates not be where they’re supposed to be,” said Taylor.

But the problems don’t end there.

“I feel like emotionally, he has regressed. He’s not as confident now,” said Taylor. “We’ll go out places and he doesn’t, you know, act the same as what he did when he was getting the social interaction from the other kids.”

Taylor says she has doubts about whether SCS will bring students back at this point in the school year.

On Wednesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee reiterated his belief that SCS parents who want their kids to go back to the classroom, should have that option.

“We strongly believe that kids should be in-person,” said Lee.

He says his administration has offered its support to SCS to help move things along.

“We’ve offered unlimited supply of rapid tests for their use and we have prioritized teachers in the vaccination process as you know behind health care workers and the elderly,” said Lee.

So far, SCS has not announced any plans to return students to in-person learning.

The district maintains its decision is based on science and local concerns about the health and safety of all students.

A survey SCS released in December showed 32% of students were expecting to return to in-person learning this spring.

SCS has twice delayed that return.

“We expect the number one question people will have when hearing of the delay is: When will we open buildings and offer an in-person learning option for students and parents? Right now, we are unable to provide a new target date for returning to buildings as we base our local decision on the health and safety of all students and educators,” said Ray in a statement last week, announcing the decision to delay in-person learning.

Lee says he hopes SCS will move quickly to in-person learning.

In October 2020, SCS planned to return to the classroom in January 2021. School leaders made changes after coronavirus cases increased over the holidays.

Related | Shelby County Schools plans for January return to in-person learning

Metro Nashville Public Schools will begin bringing students back gradually on Thursday.

WMC has been reaching out this week to SCS to see if Ray is available for an interview.

SCS says he may be available for an interview later this week.

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