Shelby County Schools students return to the classroom

Memphis, Tenn. — After almost a year of helping her son with virtual learning, Dalisia Ballinger is excited this morning.

Today marks the start of SCS’ safe re-entry plan for pre-K to the fifth grade.

Students in grades 6-12 will return March 8.

Schools are back to their regular bell times this morning, and buses are running for SCS students.

“I know that we’re dealing with a pandemic right now and stuff like that but I don’t want to be in fear of this thing,” Ballinger said. “I don’t want my son to miss out on any opportunities.”

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Ballinger, whose son is in the first grade at John P Freeman, said interaction with peers is important.

She said she’s attended meetings to learn about SCS’ safe plan and feels comfortable with it.

The plan includes students and staff getting their temperatures checked when entering the building, safety markers to promote social distancing throughout the building and the washing of hands often.

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Also, breakfast and lunch schedules will be staggered to avoid crowded cafeterias and buildings will constantly be sanitized.

This isn’t SCS’ first attempt at opening up its doors, having planned for it earlier this year.

“I can say that at this point, compared to where we were back then, I’m a little bit more confident,” she said. “We can’t let this pandemic just completely take away everything. We have to try these measures out to see if they work.”

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Ballinger said make no mistake, though, she will take her son out of the classroom if there’s even one COVID-19 case.

“Oh yeah. I don’t care, from the janitor, to any kind of administration, to kids,” she said. “All it takes is just one time for me because at that point I want to see how it works if it does happen. What measure are they going to take then?”

Time will tell how this process will go.

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For now, Ballinger said she and her son are embracing Monday’s back-to-school moment.

Ballinger said she asked her son if he was ready for the big day.

“He was like, yeah, so he’s really excited,” Ballinger said.