Parents react to SCS COVID dashboard, want virtual option

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Would you like to know how many kids have tested positive for COVID-19 within Shelby County Schools?

If so, their COVID-19 dashboard is now live, but are the numbers accurate?

The district’s website showed 547 students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the school year.

Over the weekend, an SCS student died from the illness.

The district said they have nothing to hide and they’re compiling these numbers for the public.

“I’m terrified of the number of students and teachers coming down with COVID-19,” said Tonya Edwards, SCS Parent.

Edwards has a son within Shelby County Schools and she’s calling on Governor Bill Lee to bring back virtual learning.

“I hope they don’t wait until it’s too problematic before they decide to do something about it,” Edwards said.

To ease parent’s concerns, Shelby County Schools launched a COVID-19 dashboard.

The dashboard shows out of close to 95,000 students, there are 449 COVID cases as of Aug. 19.

“There’s gotta be some discrepancy in reporting,” Edwards said.

But Jerica Phillips, a spokesperson for Shelby County Schools, said that is not the case.

Parents report their kids, staff reports themselves and they gather some data from the health department.

“We certainly hope for our parents and employees once they have tested positive. They report to our safeguard team,” Phillips said.

How SCS compares to neighboring school districts.

Collierville Schools is reporting about 2% of the student population has tested positive for COVID since the start of COVID, a full five times higher than SCS is reporting at about 0.4% since the start of the school year.

“We are being as transparent and accurate around the reports and that has happened even before we launched our own data dashboard,” Phillips said.

Transparency, all Edwards can hope for.

“We don’t like to be kept in the dark about what’s going on with our kids,” Edwards said.

Its important kids are getting tested regularly, some kids could be asymptomatic.

Parents are also pushing a call for a live virtual option.

”We are complying with the state at this time,” Phillips said.

But they’re not giving up on their efforts to provide live virtual instruction for students.

“We’re looking to petition the state to support our families and their petition as well,” Phillips said.

The district has called on parents like Edwards to unite and contact Governor Lee with your demands.

“Allow the virtual option. Give the parents the choice.”

If you have been keeping your kids home out of fear of them catching COVID or you simply want the option for your child.

Here’s Governor Lee’s contact information:

Tennessee Governor: Bill Lee

Email: Bill.Lee@tn.gov

Phone: 615-741-2001

Tennessee General Assembly: https://capitol.tn.gov

The data dashboard will include:

  • Total number of District-managed students testing positive.
  • Total number of District-managed teachers/staff testing positive.
  • Total number of charter school students testing positive.
  • Total number of charter school teachers/staff testing positive.
  • Total number of District-managed cases reported since the start of the 2021-22 school year (cumulative cases).
  • Total number of charter school cases reported since the start of the 2021-22 school year (cumulative cases).

RELATED: More than 250 students, staff test positive for COVID-19 within SCS, district says

In order to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of individuals impacted, the District said it will not share specific details regarding positive COVID-19 cases.

The Tennessee Department of Education “paused” it’s sharing of data on reported COVID-19 cases among students and employees at public elementary and secondary schools Back in May. SCS said it has established the data dashboard “as part of our commitment to transparency.”

The website will be updated weekly.