SCS enrollment drops by 775 students during pandemic

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Hundreds of students are no longer enrolled in Shelby County Schools.

This decline comes as parents are deciding whether to send their children back to the classroom or remain with virtual learning in January.

SCS is the only district in the county that doesn’t have students back in the classroom this semester.

RELATED: SCS extends deadline for families to choose learning option

New district data shows a slight increase of 437 students in K-12 charter schools but a decrease of 775 students for the district’s non-charter schools.

“I think that’s because with the virtual learning we have parents who don’t want to have to sit down and be responsible with the kindergarten child on devices,” said SCS school board member Dr. Althea Greene. “I am very concerned because with pre-k and kindergarten it is definitely a place where our kids get their foundation for learning.”

Dr. Greene said the district is urging parents to keep their students enrolled and not wait until January when in-person learning is a possible option.

“If you wait until we go back in January, any student who has not enrolled in school, they would be a semester behind. We used to say no student left behind, we don’t want anyone’s child left behind,” she said.

RELATED: Air quality improvements needed in SCS buildings as students return to in-person learning

Another concern for district leaders is a 2.5% decline in average daily attendance, which is the average count of K-12 students who are present for a specified time.

School staff says if other districts in Shelby County have maintained their attendance average compared to last year, then SCS will receive a lower percentage of county funding.

“That’s why you hear me pleading with parents of students of all ages, whether they are in Shelby County school or charter school, it doesn’t make a difference, all of our students need to be enrolled in school,” said Greene.

In a statement to FOX13, SCS board chairwoman Miska Clay-Bibbs said the following:

“Being below projection by 775 students is not alarming but I do not take it lightly that work must be done to reconnect with our students. I am eager to see the results of the recruitment plan. The first priority is reaching out to the parents of all students who have not picked up a device or logged into their device. I am sure we will see a change in numbers at that point. I am urging the Superintendent to go the extra mile to connect to our students and families.”

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