Shelby County leaders give update for parents, students amid ongoing coronavirus pandemic

WATCH: Shelby County leaders give update for parents, students amid ongoing coronavirus pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Is it safe to send your child back to school if you have the option? That question is one many parents are trying to answer.

Shelby County health leaders met Thursday to discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the community.

SCHD Director Alisa Haushalter said the positivity rate over the past week is over 14 percent. The percentage is less than it has been, according to Haushalter.

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By mandating face masks, the community has increased mask usage. Using face masks reduces the transmission of COVID-19.

Leaders are focused on getting kids back to school in a safe manner. The best answer for students and families depends on each individualized situation.

Dr. Jon McCullers said there is no easy answer to kids returning to school safely. He said transmission at school is likely.

“It’s a very individualized decision. You need to talk to your school. You need to review your guidelines,” said Pediatrician John McCullers.

This week Shelby County Schools announced all students would learn from home when classes resume on August 31st, but municipal school districts across the county are still giving parents options.

“Some schools may be better able to deal with virtual learning than others. Some may be better prepared to have in-person learning because of the facilities. On the parental side, some parents may prefer virtual learning. Some parents may need to send their kids to school,” said McCullers.

In-person learning, however, is the best way for kids to learn and receive both nutrition and physical activity, according to McCullers.

McCullers said he has been bombarded with questions about whether it should be open.

“We know that there are health issues associated with the decision to open schools and for parents to send kids back to school. At the same time, we also recognize having kids in school face-to-face learning is the best way to learn,” said McCullers.

McCullers added he is also concerned with student-athletes returning to full-contact practices for fall sports.

“With the degree of transmission we see in the community it is not safe to go back to contact sports like football,” said McCullers.