Collierville amends school reopening plan

By , Daily Memphian Updated: July 25, 2020 10:49 AM CT | Published: July 24, 2020 3:07 PM CT

Collierville Schools is amending its fall reopening plan, released more than a week ago, at the advice of the Shelby County Health Department.

Classes are set to resume Aug. 17 and Collierville is adopting a hybrid model for those who choose. All students in Pre-K through 12 grade will attend two days a week. The other three days they will attend online.

  • Monday and Tuesday students with last names A-K will report to school and learn on campus. Wednesday-Friday, they will learn at home.
  • Wednesday and Thursday those with last names L-Z will report to class. The other three days, they will use online learning platforms.
  • Special Education Pre-K and Resource A students will attend school Monday-Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be distance learning.

The earlier plan gave parents the choice of having students return in person or to have their children participate in a 100% virtual option, “Collierville Virtual Academy.” The virtual route is still provided in the new plan. Those wishing to enroll in this option must notify the district by Aug. 2.

Masks will not be required during lunch or recess provided social distancing can be maintained. The school will implement social distancing as feasible. Students will be encouraged to walk on the right side of the hallway and staircases will be one way.

Collierville made its original plans based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

<strong>Alisa Haushalter </strong>

Alisa Haushalter

“We recognized that some schools were using 3 to 6 feet distancing as recommended by the AAP,” Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said. “We had to be clear that wasn’t our recommendation at the local level. ... We wanted them to know we weren’t supportive of that level of distancing.”

Public school districts in Shelby County had submitted their plans to the Health Department for consideration.

Haushalter said those plans go through an “intense review.”

Suburban schools release reopening plans

She added the Health Department’s role is to “provide technical assistance,” and it doesn’t formally approve the plans. She said the department gives feedback if it sees ways to make the environment safer.

Superintendent Gary Lilly wrote in the reopening plans that the Health Department has taken exception to the AAP plans due to the rising number of cases locally.

“That is what was best in your mind,” school board member Frank Warren told Lilly at Tuesday’s board meeting, referring to the previously announced plan.

But at that meeting, Lilly said the “plan is fluid” based on the guidance of the Health Department.

<strong>Gary Lilly</strong>

Gary Lilly

As of Tuesday night, slightly more than 1,000 Collierville students in grades K-12 had chosen the virtual route.

Collierville Schools will not offer all its classes in the virtual academy. Some AP classes will not be offered virtually. Additionally, classes that are hands-on cannot be offered virtually, Leigh Anne Rainey, Collierville Schools chief academic officer, told board members Tuesday.

Teachers for the virtual academy will be assigned based on needs and qualifications. 

“I know (staff) has nothing but the best in mind for the kids, for our families, for our staff, for everyone,” board member Wanda Chism added, thanking those involved in drafting the original plan.

Collierville’s plan also addresses steps taken if a student tests positive for COVID-19. Parents will be notified via Blackboard. However, it noted one case does not necessarily require closure of a classroom or school.

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Collierville Collierville Schools Gary Lilly Collierville Board of Education School reopening
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.

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