Closed for at least the week, suburban schools ponder next steps

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 22, 2020 4:00 AM CT | Published: March 22, 2020 4:00 AM CT

Editor’s note: Due to the serious public health implications associated with COVID-19, The Daily Memphian is making our coronavirus coverage accessible to all readers — no subscription needed.

Shelby County’s six suburban six school districts, all on spring break last week , won’t return to class as scheduled Monday, March 23. Instead, they’re grappling with how long extended closures will be because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Four of the six suburban districts – Arlington, Bartlett, Germantown and Millington – have announced they will remain closed at least until March 31 in accordance with the recommendation of Gov. Bill Lee.

Restaurants, gyms, theaters ordered to close by county mayor, suburban leaders

The other two districts, Collierville and Lakeland, are closed at least this coming week, March 23-27, and will make a decision on whether to extend it.

Some districts are using their emergency closure days since they were not used for inclement weather.

The situation remains fluid, but here’s a look at each district’s situation as what was suppose to be back-to-school week begins: 

Arlington Community Schools

A note from Superintendent Tammy Mason noted the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend events with 10 or more people be canceled or postponed for 60 days.

The school system’s present extended closure plan, until March 31, does not meet that 60-day recommendation. But Mason told parents she was monitoring the situation before making an announcement about further extending the shutdown.

Mason said parents will be contacted this week with more information.

The district has postponed several events as well as classes. The statewide junior ACT, originally scheduled for March 31, has been postponed. Spring Registration and Kindergarten Meet and Greet, scheduled for March 31 and April 2, have also been postponed. New dates have not been determined.

All high school and middle school concerts have been canceled as well, and prom has been postponed until May 2. If schools are still closed during May, the district said prom will also be canceled.

Arlington planned to hand out meals to students who qualify, but the district announced Saturday morning, March 21, it was suspending the program indefinitely “out of an abundance of caution.” 

Bartlett City Schools

Bartlett City Schools is closed at least until March 31 and is asking families to take the nature of the closure seriously.

“We ask that families do not simply view this as an extended Spring Break or additional vacation time,” the district said on its website. “Families should heed the warnings of health experts and limit your social interactions during this time to prevent the spread of the virus.”

However, information was provided noting the district is committed to feeding students under 18 who may need additional help. Meals are to be distributed Tuesday, March 24, until Friday March 27. If the closure is extended, additional dates will be added. Children must be present to receive a meal. Bartlett High School will have drive-thru service for meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and people are asked to enter from Woodlawn Drive.

Children were also told they could pick up food from the numerous Shelby County sites. 

Shelby County Schools distributing lunches across city

Shelby County Schools announced Friday, March 20, it was suspending its lunch program indefinitely during the closure after a nutrition services employee was confirmed as having COVID-19.

Collierville Schools

Collierville Schools has not announced whether it will be closed beyond this coming week, but an extended closure is possible, according to Chief of Staff Jeff Jones.

However, the district made meal arrangements for those who requested them ahead of time.

Germantown Municipal School District

Germantown is closed at least until March 31 and says it’s “likely” the shutdown will be longer.

“... We do believe it’s likely the closure will last even longer, and we want you to be aware of that possibility,” the school district’s website said.

The district wanted parents to be aware of legislation that would waive TNReady testing, the normally required 180 days of instruction and other issues that could affect the remainder of the school year. 

GMSD had announced students who needed food could go to one of the 60 Shelby County sites before the SCS shutdown, but has not announced further arrangements.

House passes legislation to deal with school closings

GMSD staff is working from home and calls to the district office are being redirected to the employees working remotely. Staff is working from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. However, GMSD asks additional questions be directed to a new email,

Lakeland School System

Lakeland, closed this coming week, will likely extend its closure through March 31 like the others, the district says. However, the district said it will wait until closer to March 31 to make a recommendation.

“We believe it is highly likely that a longer closure will be necessary,” the district said online. Per policy, extracurricular activities are canceled while school is out. The district has answered frequently asked questions online. 

Lakeland School System announced Saturday, March 21, it was suspending its meal program indefinitely. 

Millington Schools

Millington Municipal Schools is closed until March 31.

The district will provide meals for students 18 and under. All students must stay in cars at the drive-thru locations. Meals will be served from 10:30 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday at the following locations:

  • E.A. Harrold Elementary: 4943 West Union
  • Millington Middle School: 4964 Cuba Millington
  • Millington Elementary” 6455 William Osteen Dr.
  • Aycock Park: 7330 Renda St, Millington

COVID-19 in Memphis & Shelby County: March


Collierville Schools Germantown Municipal School District Arlington Community Schools Millington Municipal Schools Lakeland School System Bartlett City Schools coronavirus
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.