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Getting ready for school – A virtual balancing act

With Shelby County Schools on track for an all-virtual opening on Aug. 31, the emphasis shifted this week to getting computer devices into the hands of those in need.

Initially, SCS parents were given the option to keep their children home to be taught virtually or physically attend classes. Supt. Joris Ray later nixed that plan, citing alarming COVID-19 numbers.

“Every student will be provided with a device and have the opportunity for an internet hotspot based on need, “said Ray.

The device distribution began Monday (August 3). Parents and students must visit SCS website for Pick up information and scheduling is available at http://www.scsk12.org/accessforall/.

Different devices are being offered for students based open these grade ranges:

  • Pre-K to Grade 2 will receive a Microsoft Surface Go tablet.
  • Grades 3-8 will receive a Microsoft Surface Go tablet with an attached keyboard.
  • Grades 9-12 will receive HP laptop devices.

SCS has created live online training sessions for parents and older siblings to understand Microsoft Teams, the districts preferred virtual learning platform.

Monique Shelton, a SCS parent, is urging all parents to take advantage of the resource help.

“I think SCS has done a good job of showing everyone how to use the devices and what is expected of the virtual learning,” said Shelton.

Janez Kelly, a student at Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering, will be entering the 12th grade when the fall semester begins. She was eagerly awaiting her much-needed device, which for her grade will be an HP laptop, when she talked with The New Tri-State Defender.

“I have a computer at home, but it’s messed up. So by them giving me a laptop it will help me to do my work,” she said.

While eager for the new laptop, starting her senior year in a virtual learning environment certainly is not her preference.

“I’d rather be in school because virtually I won’t be as focused compared to how I will be in school, sitting in class,” said Kelly.

Roderick Morris, a chef at King Jerry Lawler’s Restaurant Bar and Grille on Beale St., believes having classes virtually is the safe way forward. However, he’s keenly aware of a drawback.

“These kids need to be around more children from different aspects of life. “It gives them a different outlook, it gives the other kids a perspective of life of how the world goes,” said Morris.

As a chef, Morris cannot work from home. He and other parents are working through the crucial decision of making sure an adult is in the home to help with the virtual-learning experience.

“Well, my wife works in the daytime and I work in the evening/night; so we will be able to balance it out.”


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