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Addressing the health and safety of students and staff chart.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SCS has been working steadily to make decisions that, above all, prioritize the health and safety of the students, families, employees and the community we serve. The development of best practices through this frequently changing health crisis is a historic undertaking, but we are committed to returning stronger. As with every decision made along the way thus far, health and safety will certainly be at the forefront of our plan to return to school in the fall. We will continue to follow the guidance of local and state health officials, as well as the CDC's considerations for reopening schools.

The District's Re-Entry Task Force held its first weekly meeting on Thursday, May 28. The group will meet every week leading up to the start of the school year and potentially beyond. We are committed to transparency as we work through this process, so updates will be shared regularly with stakeholders via the District's communication channels, including website, social media and radio, and with local media. Reports will also be shared at the monthly Board of Education meetings.

You can find additional details about the Re-Entry Task Force and S.A.F.E. planning process at the bottom of this page.

UPDATE: Re-Entry Task Force Meeting 2

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Man talking in front of people sitting at tables with their laptops
  • Members reviewed COVID-19 trend data for Shelby County and discussed the need for having multiple contingencies in case of another surge that disrupts planned operations.
  • Recovering lost instructional time was a continued area of priority, as members discussed the need for heavy focus on foundational skills when students return. The group also considered options that would allow for more ongoing student support, such as extending school days and the school year.
  • The Task Force talked about the need for increasing training access for teachers and parents around any digital platforms and curriculum that may be implemented. This includes establishing community-based locations that can provide support for students and families.
  • Members talked about the use of CARES Act funds, which involved the District's proposed plans to use 75% for digital devices, 15% for student support and interventions and 10% for health and safety measures.
  • The group reviewed potential impacts of social distancing on transportation planning efforts, with considerations for staggered ridership schedules and limited capacity on buses.
  • As much as core instruction continues to be a focus, members want to ensure fine arts, health, PE, wellness and electives are available during the school day, in addition to providing access to athletics and other extracurricular activities. The District’s athletics task force is currently working to finalize guidelines for safe summer practices and activities in advance of the fall sports season. 
  • The next Re-Entry Task Force meeting will take place Thursday, June 11. Key topics of discussion include family and community engagement and "whole child" supports that will be provided for students in 2020-21.

About the Planning Teams

The District's S.A.F.E. (Strategic Action for Flexible Education) Planning Team has been meeting daily since early March. This cross-functional team includes members of every division, including Academics, Facilities, Risk Management, Student Support, Coordinated School Health, Nutrition Services, Transportation, Information Technology, Human Resources, Professional Development, Safety & Security, Finance, Communications, Family & Community Engagement and many others. The team has been charged with assessing both short-term and long-term plans for academics and operational support functions while developing safe and comprehensive guidance for school-based and central office staff to manage day-to-day priorities during the District closure. The team is collaborating with the Re-Entry Task Force to establish plans for safe return to school in the fall.

Re-Entry Task Force

S.A.F.E. document

On May 18, Superintendent Ray held a press conference to announce members of the District's Re-Entry Task Force. The task force is comprised of key stakeholders representing education, healthcare, faith-based and business sectors of our community. The group will advise the S.A.F.E. Planning Team on critical factors that must be considered to safely reopen schools, which will likely involve a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning. View the full S.A.F.E. Contingency Plan, which includes strategic planning priorities, re-entry options and funding considerations.

Re-Entry Task Force Members

  • Miska Clay-Bibbs – Chair, Shelby County Board of Education
  • Mark Billingsley – Chair, Shelby County Commission
  • DaCharius Brooks – Student, East High School
  • Michalyn Easter-Thomas – SCS Educator and Member, Memphis City Council
  • Alisa Haushalter – Director, Shelby County Health Department
  • Steevon Hunter – Principal, Kirby High School
  • Tom Marino – Executive Director, The Poplar Foundation
  • Joann Massey – Parent, White Station High School
  • Keith Norman – Vice President of Government Affairs, Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation
  • Beverly Robertson – President, Greater Memphis Chamber
  • Patrice Jordan Robinson – Chair, Memphis City Council
  • Danette Stokes – Teacher, Robert R. Church Elementary
  • Gabriela Toro – Principal, Newcomer International Center
  • Jeffrey S. Warren – Physician and Member, Memphis City Council
  • Kevin B. Willis, Sr. – Founder and Pastor, New Life of Memphis