UPDATE (7/25/22): In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH), masking is optional for Memphis-Shelby County Schools students, staff, and visitors (while in District schools and offices) for the 2022-23 school year. District families and staff are strongly encouraged to monitor COVID-19 trends in our community and mask, especially when case numbers are high. Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must continue to isolate for a minimum of five (5) days after the onset of symptoms. Cases may be released from isolation after they are without fever for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication) and show improvement in symptoms. Regardless of symptoms, the CDC recommends wearing a well-fitting mask when around others for ten (10) days following the onset of symptoms or specimen collection. Additionally, any asymptomatic staff or students identified as close contacts with a COVID-positive person are strongly encouraged to mask consistently for ten (10) days.
UPDATE (7/21/22): As K-12 schools begin preparing for another school year of in-person learning and traditional activities, MSCS continues to provide updated guidance from the CDC and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) to our staff and families. CDC GUIDANCE RE: ISOLATION: Currently, the CDC recommends that positive cases isolate for a minimum of five (5) days after the onset of symptoms. Cases may be released from isolation after they are without fever for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication) and show improvement in symptoms. Regardless of symptoms, the CDC recommends wearing a well-fitting mask when around others for ten (10) days following the onset of symptoms or specimen collection. UPDATED QUARANTINE PROTOCOL: Under the new emergency rule, the TDOH allows school districts to adopt their own quarantine guidance. As a result, MSCS will adhere to the following protocol: asymptomatic staff or students identified as close contacts with a COVID-positive person are no longer required to quarantine. These individuals should self-monitor for signs and symptoms for ten (10) days following exposure. If no symptoms develop, TDOH recommends getting a COVID test on or after day five (5). In the event staff or students identified as a close contact with a COVID-positive person becomes symptomatic, it is recommended that the individual test immediately and quarantine until test results are received. Individuals who receive a positive test are to isolate and follow recommendations for positive cases.
UPDATE (2/25/22): MSCS will continue to monitor the CDC and Shelby County Health Department guidance for updates and recommendations. The District is committed to keeping all employees, students, and constituents safe. In alignment with updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and recent guidance from the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) related to wearing masks indoors, MSCS is lifting its indoor mask mandate.
• Beginning Monday, February 28, masks will be optional for students and employees. Parents will be required to submit this form in PowerSchool for their students to opt out.
• Employees are not required to fill out a form but are encouraged to continue to wear a mask.
UPDATE (1/12/22): Shelby County Schools is adhering to the guidance of the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) for "Releasing Cases and Contacts from Isolation and Quarantine" revised on January 12, 2022. You can find the Tennessee Department of Health's quarantine guidelines here. Shelby County Schools COVID-19 reporting protocols have been revised to reflect recent changes to state law.
UPDATE (1/3/22): Shelby County Schools is adhering to the guidance of the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) for “Releasing Cases and Contacts from Isolation and Quarantine” revised on December 29, 2021. You can find the Tennessee Department of Health's quarantine guidelines here. Shelby County Schools COVID-19 reporting protocols have been revised to reflect recent changes to state law.
UPDATE (1/1/22): Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray shared a special message with SCS families and employees regarding health and safety as we enter a new semester. As we kick off the new semester, we’re urging our staff, students, and families to STAY THE COURSE for SAFETY. In September 2021, amid changes to mask legislation, Shelby County Schools (SCS) stayed the course and the Tennessee Department of Health reported SCS and Metro Nashville as having the lowest cumulative COVID-19 case rates in the state (citing school districts that require masks in class have the lowest coronavirus rates for children ages 0-18 years old). Masks and vaccinations work and have been proven to help slow the spread of this virus. SCS has led the way for safety throughout this unprecedented time. Let's stay the course.
Mask Requirements, Latest CDC Guidance, and Safety Tips
Our safety protocols remain in place: mask-wearing is required for students and staff indoors and on school buses regardless of vaccination status; social distancing will continue to be practiced wherever possible.
The District’s Contact Tracing team will stay the course and tracing will continue to be conducted by a team of trained nurses and health educators in accordance with the most recent CDC and Shelby County Health Department guidelines. Members of our Contract Tracing team will provide guidance to staff and students who are exposed to COVID-19 regarding quarantine and isolation.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you.
Wash your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer.
Monitor your health daily.
Virtual Learning: We want to issue a reminder that based on a 2021 Tennessee State Board of Education rule, entire school districts are NOT permitted to transition to full remote/virtual instruction. Individual schools may seek waivers of this rule, but in several instances, waivers have not been granted by the Tennessee Department of Education. Click on the links for additional information/talking points: English / Español.
Together with Poplar Healthcare, SCS was one of the only school districts in the county to offer COVID-19 testing to District staff and employees throughout the winter break.
NEW WEEKLY TESTING: Beginning Monday, January 17, 2022, nasal swab testing will be offered weekly at each school location and at the Board of Education Office at 160 South Hollywood. During the fall semester, swab teams were visiting schools on a two-week rotation; during the spring semester, students and staff will have the option to be tested weekly.
If you completed a consent form for your child to participate in the nasal swab testing and your child was swabbed last semester, there is no need to do anything. Your children will be offered a test on the day of each week designated for their school.
UPDATE (12/3/21): Shelby County Schools is adhering to the guidance of the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) for "Releasing Cases and Contacts from Isolation and Quarantine" revised on November 15, 2021. You can find the Tennessee Department of Health's quarantine guidelineshere. Shelby County Schools COVID-19 reporting protocols have been revised to reflect recent changes to state law.
UPDATE (9/21/21): The Shelby County Schools
COVID-19 reporting protocols were revised in September.
Staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 no longer need to provide clearance from a medical provider or SCS Family Care center to return to school,
as long as they isolate for 10 calendar days from the date of first symptoms, have improvement in symptoms, and are fever-free without medication
for 24 hours prior to returning.
UPDATE (8/30/21): Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn released guidance, which reiterates that only an individual classroom or school building may shift to remote instruction temporarily due to COVID-19
exposure with a documented waiver. Based on the current TN State Board rules, entire school districts are NOT permitted to transition to full remote/virtual instruction. According to Commissioner Schwinn’s guidance,
in the event of a school closure, school athletics and extracurricular activities will be cancelled during the school closure period. Click on the links for additional information: English / Español.
SCS is continuing to explore ways to petition the TDOE and state legislators to allow additional virtual learning options under our Continuous Learning Plan.
UPDATE (8/24/21): The TN State Board has passed new rules and criteria for in-person learning including restrictions on closing schools and implementing remote learning. Shelby County Schools (SCS) must comply
with the law as we continue to push legislators to allow local control. Click on the links for additional information:
English / Español.
UPDATE (7/28/21): Shelby County Schools (SCS) updated information pertaining to temperature checks for the 2021-2022 school year.
Temperature checks are required for all visitors, including parents and vendors.
Daily temperature checks are no longer required for employees and students.
SCS will continue to monitor the CDC and Shelby County Health Department guidance for updates and recommendations. The district is committed to keeping all employees, students, families, and visitors safe.
UPDATE (7/20/21): As Shelby County Schools prioritizes health and safety with our full return to in-person instruction, the District is updating its safety protocols. After reviewing the latest guidance from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Superintendent Ray shared updated COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-22 school year (PowerPoint). The District is maintaining several health protocols while enhancing safety measures. Like school districts across the nation, SCS is following science and data to guide decisions about providing COVID-19
protection for students, teachers and staff. The District is mindful of the rising cases and the spread of the Delta variant. Therefore, masks should be worn indoors (schools) and on buses by all employees and students, regardless of vaccination status until further notice.
UPDATE (2/12/21): Today, Superintendent Ray announced the gradual return to in-person learning, which will begin Monday, March 1.
The District has stood alone in Memphis and Shelby County against mounting pressure to reopen while COVID-19 cases spiked in our community. From the onset
of this pandemic, we’ve diligently planned for a stronger return to our buildings, but we have had no control of this virus or the community conditions
that would allow us to go back. SCS is now faced with potential state legislation that could impact school funding. However, declining COVID-19 cases
and the availability of vaccines have been key factors in our plans to return safely. Although there is pressure to reopen school buildings, SCS will
not compromise our commitment to safety or our core mission to provide a high-quality education for the children of Shelby County. Millions of dollars
in COVID-19 relief funds have been used to purchase protective equipment, cleaning supplies, install safety signage and improve building ventilation
systems, and our schools are ready to welcome students back safely.
Students in grades Pre-K - 5 will return March 1, and students in grades 6-12 will return March 8. Students with disabilities or in self-contained
classrooms will return within their grade bands.
Virtual instruction will continue for all students whose families chose to remain virtual. Parents who would like to change their child's learning option
to either in-person or virtual may contact their school. These changes would take effect for the remainder of the school year.
Schools will revert back to their regular bell times beginning March 1. Contact your child’s school to verify the standard start time, or go
to scsk12.org/schools to view all start times.
Buses will be running beginning March 1 for all students who are eligible to receive District transportation. Find more information about transportation
services at scsk12.org/transportation. Meals will be served daily in schools, and weekly pick up will
still be available for students who learn virtually.
All schools will be hosting virtual family forums the week of February 22 to review procedures and protocols and address questions. Schools will share
dates and times with families.
In preparation for the reopening of schools for in-person learning, SCS has implemented extensive procedures to address positive cases of COVID-19.
This process includes investigating schools and mitigating a plan of action to protect students and employees. SCS follows all appropriate protocols
for reporting cases based on Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) guidance.