Collierville teachers urge board to find consistency in midst of pandemic

By , Daily Memphian Updated: September 23, 2020 8:12 PM CT | Published: September 22, 2020 7:44 PM CT

Collierville High School teachers urged the school board to allow them to teach 100% virtual during the system’s school board meeting Tuesday night.

The session was the first time the board held a formal meeting since the high school was forced to close for two weeks due to a Coronavirus outbreak earlier this month. Due to the number of people who attended, the meeting was moved to the auditorium.


Collierville High School identifies 318 close contacts following 8 cases of COVID-19


“We are hitting a breaking point. We cannot continue down this path” without it negatively impacting students, teachers said in a series of prepared statements.

Teachers were frustrated by how the pandemic has stretched their resources as they strive to teach students effectively through virtual and hybrid instruction. While elementary students may attend school five days per week, middle and high school students attend two days per week and are at home for three. All students had the option to attend virtually.

<strong>Students flood the halls of Collierville High School in 2018. Collierville High School teachers urged the school board to allow them to teach 100% virtual during the system&rsquo;s school board meeting Tuesday night.</strong> (Houston Cofield/Daily Memphian file)

Students flood the halls of Collierville High School in 2018. Collierville High School teachers urged the school board to allow them to teach 100% virtual during the system’s school board meeting Tuesday night. (Houston Cofield/Daily Memphian file)

They praised Principal Roger Jones’ leadership, but they asked for help from board members as they looked out for best of students.

Teachers said the constant changing plans at the beginning of the year pushed them in ways for which they could not prepare.

“In the five weeks we have been back, we have been forced to close for two,” Angela Amido, an English teacher, said

However, she noted if they continued to teach in person, more outbreaks were possible as “students in the building are at risk of a virus they are not immune to.”

She said as students return to school or do hybrid learning, the constant back and forth is tough as teachers are trying to learn and utilize new technology.


Collierville High School goes remote for two weeks, 8 confirmed COVID-19 cases


She said teachers are planning lessons for three sets of students: those learning 100% virtually, those in the classroom on the hybrid schedule and those at home also on the hybrid schedule.

Teachers are struggling, she said, adding “morale has never been this low.” Faculty members said students are worried but think virtual is the safest route for all.

Jimmy Hall, a parent, said the “only option” was to return to in-class attendance five days for students on the hybrid schedule.


Tacos 4 Life brings food with a mission to Collierville


“The system is failing in its current form,” he said.

While he acknowledged risk, he said the potential negative mental health impacts were greater.

“We hear you. We do respect you and respect what you’re doing in the classroom,” said Wright Cox, the board’s vice chairman, who ran the meeting due to Mark Hansen’s absence.

Superintendent Gary Lilly said the pandemic has left the district with “few good options.”

He said area superintendents constantly talk with Shelby County health professionals and the Tennessee Board of Education.

“Your voices are being heard,” he said. “We all want what is best for our students.”

He said the district is establishing metrics that give parameters for when more students can return in-person. 

“I understand you are in a place you have never been before,” Wanda Chism said. “Students are in a place they’ve never been before.”

The board also adopted an amended graded policy for the 2020-21 school year Tuesday night.

Meaningful news delivered to you each week

Coverage of the key happenings in our city including city hall, education, and more.

Manage Your Email Subscriptions

Topics

Collierville Collierville High School virtual learning hybrid learning
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


Comment On This Story

Become a subscriber to join the discussion.
Meaningful news delivered to you each week

Coverage of the key happenings in our city including city hall, education, and more.

Manage Your Email Subscriptions