SCS teachers and parents choose virtual over in-person learning

Watch: SCS teachers and parents choose not to return to in-person learning

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — SCS parent, teacher surveys show hesitancy about returning to in-person learning

Amid rising COVID-19 numbers, Shelby County Schools teachers and parents of students are showing hesitancy about returning next month for in-person learning.

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Most teachers and parents still aren’t sure they’re ready to return when classrooms open back up, a survey taken shows. As some raised questions, the school district pushed back, with a spokesperson saying their plan stands up to scrutiny.

A new round of surveys from teachers and parents showed 68 percent of students want to stay at home, and 83 percent of teachers said they want to teach from home.

That amounts to some 32,000 students, but just 1,000 teachers.

That ratio is concerning, said Keith Williams, Executive Director of the Memphis-Shelby County Education Association, the district’s largest teacher’s union, representing about 4,200 teachers.

Williams, said, in his view, plans for returning are not ready. Additionally, about half of the teachers he represents are older than 50, and at increased risk of complications should they contract COVID-19, Williams said.

“Why should we rush into something else that could be a greater issue than we currently have,” William said Tuesday at his office.

But many of the concerns are moot, said Shelby County Schools spokesperson Jerica Phillips.

Phillips said the district is ready.

“There are no mandates for our students and teachers to return to the buildings,” Phillips said, meaning students and teachers can still change their minds if they ultimately chose not to return.

“There will be those who continue to sow discord …. If those teachers or anyone out in our community has concerns, we want them to bring those concerns to the district,” Phillips said.

Williams said teachers will discuss the district’s return plan and mull their options over.

To fill in any potential gaps between the number of students returning and available teachers, the district said it will use school support staff and staffers from its central office with “classroom experience.”