Education association says SCS teachers were never asked about returning to the classroom

WATCH: Education association says SCS teachers were never asked about returning to the classroom

Back to in-classroom learning gets the go-ahead for Shelby County School students. 

January 2021 is the timeframe for the phased in approach, but only if parents want it for their children.

The district emailed its decision and options to parents.

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Parents must decide by Oct. 30 if their student will return to class or continue learning at home.

The option impacts 100,000 students currently learning at home virtually.

The announcement caught Rosa Garcia, a parent, by surprise. 

Garcia told FOX 13 “I am not sure this is a great idea yet.”

She said she will keep her son at home learning virtually because of the pandemic.

 “There are covid cases on the rise everywhere right now” said Garcia. 

FOX 13 showed the SCS email to parent Damien Cleades, who has a 12 year old son.  

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The email explains the in-class learning will happen in phases. 

Children in pre-k through 5th grade will start first and then grades 6th through 12 later in January, if their parents agree to changing the learning plan.  

Cleades said he will keep his son in virtual learning for now.  

“I am not ready for him to go back yet.  I think about his safety.  If something were to happen to him I don’t know what I’d do,” said Cleades.

For parents who don’t decided by the deadline, their children will be automatically enrolled in the in-person option for the remainder of the school year.   

These proposed changes caught many teachers by surprise, according to the executive director of the Memphis Shelby County Education Association Keith Williams who called the plan “half-baked.” 

Williams predicted less than half of the teachers would return to teach in classrooms. 

If given the option, Williams said he thinks no teachers will return.

“They will not return to school with children.  We don’t know what this pandemic will look like in January.  We don’t have a clue,” said Williams.

SCS has given teachers the option to return to the classroom or continue teaching virtually.  

The classroom will be supervised by a teacher, teacher assistant, or even certified substitute. 

Williams said school administrators never consulted his association and members.

“I think they told a few principals today, some hint of it. But it has not been presented or marketed to teachers at all,” said Williams.