Feud between Gov. Lee & SCS Superintendent over returning to in-person learning continues

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The ongoing feud between Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray over when to bring students back in person continued on social media on Thursday.

Superintendent Ray made a post that appears to show support for President Joe Biden’s plan which focuses on reopening schools in 100 days. However, an SCS spokesperson said Dr. Ray isn’t necessarily showing support for Biden’s plan. Instead, he wants a safe transition back to school without the constraints of a deadline.

Meanwhile, Governor Bill Lee wants all schools to return to in-person learning as soon as possible.

RELATED: Tennessee lawmakers threaten to pull funding if schools don’t reopen in-person learning

Dr. Ray posted a tweet Thursday morning, emphasizing a need to reopen schools safely. On Twitter he said returning to school should be a goal rather than a fixed target.

“We are trying to do everything we can to prepare our students and teachers and the community to return back in person when it’s safe,” said Dr. Ray during an interview at the beginning of January.

The Superintendent wasn’t available for an interview on Thursday.

Right now, SCS plans on returning students to class the second week of February but the district plans on being flexible just in case.

“If the numbers are in triple digits where they are now we are going to continue to follow science,” said Dr. Ray.

RELATED: Governor Lee calls out districts still in remote learning, SCS Superintendent responds

An SCS spokesperson said Dr. Ray was “rubbed the wrong way” when he found out about a proposed state bill that requires schools to have an in-person learning option for 70 days this school year and 180 days next school year.

This bill seems to match up with Governor Lee’s mentality which is returning to in-person learning as soon as possible.

“You can’t say follow the science and keep schools closed. You can’t say I believe in public education and keep schools closed and you can’t say you are putting the needs of students first and keep schools closed,” said Governor Lee.

An SCS spokesperson said Superintendent Ray will officially release a response to the proposed bill and Governor Lee’s comments Friday morning.

FOX13 also reached out to Governor Lee’s office about Dr. Ray’s position on reopening schools but we did not hear back.

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